Source AP ©

Chery to enter U.S., EU markets

China's biggest independent car company Chery builds its capabilities and quality standards required to enter and compete the U.S. and European Union markets.

Lin Zhang, general manager of Chery International, said the company is focusing on high-growth areas such as Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central and South America, where it now exports more than 100,000 vehicles.

"No question, the U.S. is the most competitive market and most demanding market in the world," Zhang said at an automotive conference in suburban Detroit. "The key is to continually assess our products and capabilities ... until we feel we're ready."

Zhang, who is responsible for international sales, marketing and operations of Chery Automobiles Co. Ltd., said moving into such mature markets are part of the company's long-term plan, but he offered no timetable. Chrysler announced a deal in July with Chery Automobile to jointly produce and export cars to the U.S. and Western Europe.

Zhang projects 2007 sales to be 400,000 worldwide.

China's automakers exported 325,000 vehicles last year, about 80 percent of them low-priced trucks and buses for other developing markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to the government.

Chinese producers are eager to expand to U.S. and European markets, but industry analysts say they lack the technology to meet environmental and safety standards on their own.

Foreign demand for low-cost Chinese goods has stayed strong despite a string of foreign recalls and warnings over faulty or tainted Chinese goods ranging from toothpaste to tires. China's trade surplus jumped to a new all-time monthly high in October, according to official data released this week.

Chery Automobile, based in the eastern Chinese city of Wuhu, has 23,000 employees.

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