BEIJING - Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. would be interested in building Mitsubishi cars in addition to its SUVs, Beijing Automotive President Dong Yang hinted at the Automotive News China Congress.
Beijing Automotive owns 53 percent of Beijing Jeep Corp. DaimlerChrysler AG owns 47 percent.
Beijing Jeep builds Jeep SUVs as well as the Mitsubishi Outlander and Pajero Sport, known as the Montero Sport in the United States. The Mitsubishi models account for the majority of Beijing Jeep's sales.
Asked if he was trying to mediate between the increasingly distant DaimlerChrysler AG and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Dong said, "As far as we're concerned, I think Mitsubishi's sports cars will have great potential" in China. "I hope they can work together," he said.
Beijing Jeep is both moving and expanding.
It is moving out of downtown Beijing in line with the government's plan to reduce industrial air pollution ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The new site will have a plant building Jeeps and Mitsubishi SUVs. Beijing Jeep will build Mercedes sedans at a separate plant in the same complex.
Beijing Jeep will build 20,000 C- and E-class sedans a year from July 2005.
Mercedes has not said which versions of those cars it will build. But while talking about the Mercedes production during his presentation, Dong showed a slide that included the E240, E200 and E320.
Beijing Automotive once owned stakes in more than 20 parts suppliers. It has sold most and now owns stakes in fewer than 10.
Dong compared the sales with the spinoff of Delphi Corp. from General Motors and Visteon Corp. from Ford Motor Co. He said China's First Auto Works also has been reducing the number of its parts-making affiliates.
Now Beijing Automotive is consolidating its parts operations into three groups serving Beijing Jeep, the fast-growing Beijing Hyundai Motor Co. and a commercial-vehicle unit, Beiqi-Futian.
It is still looking for more parts-making partners, he said. "I discussed this with the next speaker," Jinya Chen, president of Delphi China.
Dong urged other foreign suppliers to make automotive parts in Beijing. He is a deputy to the Beijing Municipal People's Congress. "To those suppliers interested in setting up factories in Beijing," he said, "we can offer very cheap land."