BAIC, Daimler's JV partner in China through the Beijing Benz joint venture, plans to produce own-brand vehicles in Mexico from 2017 as it looks to gain a firm foothold in the huge North American vehicle market.

The group opened its first 4S showroom in Mexico City this month as a key milestone in its expansion there but ultimately is eyeing the world's second-largest vehicle market, the US, across the northern border.

BAIC's factory will will be the first Chinese car plant in Mexico when it begins operations next year and likely wil produce new energy vehicles such as hybrids alongside conventional passenger vehicles.

BAIC has stepped up its international expansion following the announcement last month of plans to build a 100,000 unit car factory in South Africa to serve the Sub-Sahara region.

Other Chinese automakers, including Geely and SAIC Motor, have expanded international operations in the last few years, focusing mainly on emerging and developing markets.