Chery Automobile plans to spend US$500m building a plant in Turkey, Chinese state media reported.

The carmaker plans to establish the factory with its Turkish dealer partner, Mermerler, although the plan is still subject to Turkish government approval, the Beijing News said, citing unnamed company sources.

Chery officials were not immediately available for comment. The paper added the new plant would put the automaker in a better position to expand in Europe and would build the A1 model which the company thinks would appeal to European and North American drivers.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, Chery shipped 135,000 units in 2008, up 12.6% year on year. That made it the biggest exporter amongst Chinese carmakers last year, accounting for over 25% of the country's car exports.

Chery already has eight overseas assembly plants in Iran, Egypt, Russia, Uruguay, Thailand, Ukraine, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to its website.