China’s car firms expand overseas manufacturing

China’s car firms expand overseas manufacturing

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
China’s car firms expand overseas manufacturing

Chinese shoppers walk by a Volvo car on display at a shopping mall in Beijing in this file photo. The Chinese company owns Volvo, the rooted car brand. AFP photo

Chinese automaker Geely said yesterday it will begin assembling cars in Egypt this year with a local partner, marking its latest push overseas as domestic demand hits the brakes.

Geely Holding Group, which owns Swedish nameplate Volvo, will work with GB Auto to assemble passenger vehicles for distribution across North Africa, the Chinese company said in a statement.

Geely’s growth plans

The production line will have an initial capacity of 30,000 units a year, the statement said. Financial details were not provided.

The move highlights the growing global ambitions of Chinese automakers such as Geely, which bought Volvo from U.S. auto giant Ford in 2010 for $1.5 billion, less than a quarter of what Ford paid for the company in 1999.

Geely said in December that it was aiming to start selling its Emgrand EC7 sedan through a network of 30-40 dealerships around Britain by the end of this year, as it seeks to boost its presence in developed markets.

The ambitious car maker already exports vehicles to more than 40 developing countries in eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.

It also operates assembly plants in several countries including Russia and Indonesia.

Production in Europe

Great Wall Motor on Feb. 21 became the first Chinese automaker to open an assembly plant in Europe, aiming to produce 50,000 vehicles per year for the whole continent in northern Bulgaria.

The overseas push by Chinese companies comes as sales in the world’s biggest auto market hit the brakes after Beijing rolled back sales incentives and some cities imposed tough restrictions on car numbers to ease traffic congestion and pollution.

Nationwide sales rose just 2.5 percent in 2011 to 18.51 million units compared with an increase of more than 32 percent in 2010.

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