FRANKFURT -- DaimlerChrysler is in talks to form three joint ventures in China to build Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks and expects to reach initial agreements this year, a German newspaper said on Monday.
Citing DaimlerChrysler managers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said the group wanted to build cars and trucks in cooperation with Beijing Automotive Industry Corp. and also launch a venture with Southeast Motor Corp. to build Mercedes light trucks.
DaimlerChrysler has already said it is in talks with Chinese officials to begin assembling Mercedes C-Class and E-Class luxury cars using kits shipped from Germany in a joint venture with a local partner.
A company spokesman said on Monday that those talks had so far been successful and repeated that the company envisaged eventually assembling around 20,000 Mercedes cars a year in China. He declined to name a partner.
DaimlerChrysler said in February it was in talks with potential partners after ending talks with China's FAW on a possible trucks partnership, saying it had become clear that a deal would not generate the strategic benefit it wanted.
The group has pinpointed China as one of the most important areas for expansion in its trucks business but also says the company is under no time pressure to strike a deal.
"Neither in the trucks nor the luxury car sector is there a joint venture in China that is already producing vehicles. Nothing has happened, no competitor is ahead of us," Eckhard Cordes, head of DaimlerChrysler trucks was quoted as saying in the newspaper.