Chery Automobile will spend up to US$500m in Argentina over the next four years for a local plant under a planned joint venture with Argentina’s Socma Group.

Chery plans to sell 50,000 vehicles in the local market in 2011 and total sales are projected to reach 100,000 units by 2012, according to an Argentine government official quoted by Xinhua.

The new plant is expected to create 2,000 jobs in Argentina and the joint venture is lobbying the Argentine government to help finance the investment.

Chery started to sell its compact sports-utility vehicle Tiggo in Argentina in March last year and also plans to export the vehicles, which are made in Argentina, to Brazil.

In December, Chery secured the consent of The Export-Import Bank of China for a CNY10bn loan to support its export business.

The company will use the money for global operations by increasing exports and importing technology and equipment.

Chinese carmakers are attempting to sustain sales levels by expanding into emerging regions this year as domestic demand dries up, analysts say.