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April 4, 2005

USA: DaimlerChrysler may export cars from China

DaimlerChrysler is interested in making vehicles in China for export, said Chrysler group CEO Dieter Zetsche.

DaimlerChrysler is interested in making vehicles in China for export, said Chrysler group CEO Dieter Zetsche.

“It’s definitely one consideration of ours to potentially build vehicles in China, not exclusively for the Chinese market,” Zetsche said, according to Automotive News Europe.

He said he was not hinting at an upcoming announcement but describing the thinking of DC executives.

Zetsche’s comments reflect the rapid evolution of business models for automakers in China. Most industry leaders have been reluctant to speculate about exports from China.

Honda is preparing to export vehicles from China this year to other Asian countries and Europe.

Visionary Vehicles is promising to bring vehicles built by Chery Automobile to the US by 2007. Chery also is discussing importing its cars to Europe with European dealers.

Zetsche indicated that DC is positioned to use China as an export platform.

The former Chrysler Corporation was an early entrant in China with a joint venture that built Jeeps.

DC has since lagged other automakers in China, Zetsche said, but is expanding again.

“We have probably the richest product portfolio going forward, the most new launches,” he said. “So we would have more opportunities to make decisions of that kind.”

It took Japanese companies 20 years to become “serious competitors,” Zetsche said, while Koreans did it in 10 years.

Perhaps Chinese factories will do it in five years, Zetsche told reporters.

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