BEIJING - Chery Automobile is close to appointing dealers to sell its cars in Europe and South America.
The automaker aims to start exporting cars to Europe in the second half of 2007.
In Greece, the likely distributor will be the Syngelidis group. A Chery manager said it had signed a letter of intent with the Greek company. But Syngelidis says the agreement is closer to completion.
"We have signed an agreement that incorporates a time plan for common action up to the launch of Chery products in Greece in the third or fourth quarter of 2007," Syngelidis group Executive Director Andreas Andrikopoulos told Automotive News Europe.
Spain's Grupo Berge was expected to sign an agreement today (November 14) to sell Chery cars in Chile, Peru, and Argentina starting late 2006.
The agreement could lead to Grupo Berge becoming a Chery distributor in Europe.
AVAG in talks
AVAG Holding, one of Germany's biggest dealer groups, is talking to Chery and other independent Chinese automakers.
"Chery, Geely and Hafei are three potential global China players," said Jürgen Voss, an AVAG director.
Chery is developing models for Europe with the help of Italian coachbuilders Bertone and Pininfarina and engine specialists AVL List of Austria. Its first models likely will include a small car and medium-sized sedan.
These models will have no problem passing all the European safety tests, including those covering pedestrian safety, said the Chery manager, who did not want to be named.
According to Syngelidis, Chery general manager Lin Zhang told an Economist Group conference in Athens earlier this month that Chery would begin by exporting three models to Europe. Later Chery will add a minivan, SUV, coupe and pickup models.
Gasoline and diesel engines will be offered ranging in size from 1.3 to 2.4 liters.
Currently Landwind Europe imports the Jiangling Landwind SUV from China into Europe. The medium-sized SUV went on sale in Germany shortly after the IAA in Frankfurt in September.
- Isabella Finsterwalder-Reinecke and Paulo Soares de Oliveira contributed