China's Chery eyes 29% rise in 2007 sales

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -- Chery Automobile Co., DaimlerChrysler AG's partner in China, expects to sell 29 percent more vehicles in the country this year than in 2006, as it continues to expand its sales network.

Chery, a mid-sized but fast-growing automaker in eastern China, expects to move 393,000 vehicles this year, up from 305,236 units in 2006, the firm said today on its Web site.

Sales increased by more than 100,000 units annually in 2005 and 2006, and the company had earlier set a target to sell 1 million vehicles a year by 2010.

Chery competes with Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. in the world's second-largest automarket, where vehicle sales are expected to grow 15 percent to over 8 million units in 2007.

It had signed a preliminary deal with DaimlerChrysler late last year to produce a new small car in China that would be marketed around the world under the Chrysler brand.

Chery expects its own vehicle exports to hit 70,000 units in 2007, up from 50,000 in 2006, mostly to developing markets.

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