Geely Automobile reportedly will become the first Chinese automaker to have a display at the Detroit motor show though it will only be in an entrance foyer on press days.

Geely-USA vice president John Harmer told The Associated Press that the automaker plans a limited appearance with only one car - a five-passenger sedan called the 7151 CK - in the lobby of Cobo Centre, where the North American International Auto Show is held. The display will be up 8-11 January, during the show's media preview, but will be gone when the show opens to the public on 14 January.

"Our presence in Detroit at this show is not to market the automobile. We are coming only to introduce ourselves to the American media," Harmer told the news agency.

Harmer reportedly said Geely wants to begin limited distribution of a five-passenger sedan in Puerto Rico in autumn 2007 and in the United States in autumn 2008. The company brought 12 Geely automobiles to the United States in July to begin testing to make sure they meet US environmental and safety standards, AP added .

Harmer told The Associated Press that Geely wants to proceed slowly so it doesn't repeat the mistakes of foreign brands such as Peugeot and Yugo, which pulled out of the US market in the early 1990s.

"We are absolutely determined to produce a high-quality vehicle that can be marketed to the American consumer for under US$10,000," said Harmer, a lawyer and former Washington lobbyist who told the news agency he was hired for his expertise in regulatory issues. "We're not trying to barnstorm the American market. We're going to protect the product and the credibility of our name."

Harmer told AP that Geely expects to sell a little more than 100,000 vehicles in China this year and also plans to export 7,000 vehicles, mostly to Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Harmer reportedly said Geely won't start talking to US dealers for another year.

Detroit motor show co-chairman Richard Genthe told The Associated Press that several other Chinese car makers inquired about space at this year's show, but Geely was the only one that committed to a stand.

"We're excited to be the first show in the western hemisphere to showcase a Chinese vehicle," Genthe told AP.

Chery Automobile cars, due for sale in 2007, won't however be at Detroit. Visionary Vehicles founder Malcolm Bricklin, who plans to sell the cars in the United States, told The Associated Press the vehicles aren't ready to show, in part because the interiors are still being finished.

"We're not taking products designed for China and bringing them to America," Bricklin reportedly said. "We're creating a completely unique line just for North America."

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