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COO latest to leave Chamco; joins ZX Auto

SHANGHAI — Chamco's COO has jumped ship to ZX Auto.

Hebei Zhongxing Automobile Co., also known as ZX Auto, has hired Thomas Del Franco as general manager for worldwide sales of subsidiary ZX International. He is to be based in the company's hometown of Baoding, Hebei province, China.

In an online posting, Del Franco says his goal will be "to expand (the) worldwide reach of ZX Auto into 40 countries, with the last expansion to come into North America, where a full subsidiary will be formed to service the most important market in the world."

Del Franco was previously COO of Audi of America and spent several years as a Mazda sales executive in North America.

Chamco, of Parsippany, N.J., had sought to import a ZX pickup and SUV to the United States.

But ZX terminated its contract to supply vehicles to Chamco Auto after the would-be importer was put into the hands of a legal custodian in April by a New Jersey court after a management dispute.

More than a dozen key Chamco executives have resigned.

The custodian, retired New Jersey judge Gerald Escala, has been determining ownership of Chamco and is managing the company's affairs. A court hearing on Escala's findings is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 8.

Meanwhile, ZX Auto apparently has gotten together with FAW Group.

ZX Auto wasted no time in adding a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback to the company Web site. The sedan and hatch are called the N3 line and have the FAW-Xiali logo.

Speaking at the Beijing auto show in April, ZX Auto CEO Robert Yu said he wanted assembly of the company's Landmark SUV and Grand Tiger pickup to begin in Mexico within 18 to 20 months.

FAW Group has formed a joint venture with the Salinas Group to build an assembly plant in Mexico. The factory will be in Zinapecuaro, between the western city of Guadalajara and Mexico City.

The venture aims to assemble three subcompact FAW cars: the Xiali, Vita and a model under development and currently known as the TFC-W. Production is scheduled to start in late 2010.

The venture plans sales in Mexico and Central America.

ZX is also reportedly in talks with General Motors to explore opportunities for cooperation, including possible equity ties, a source close to the situation said in July. c

You can reach Namrita Chow at
Tags: China

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