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Thu, Nov 13, 2003 - Page 12 News List

DaimlerChrysler, GM and Ford reach China sales accords

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General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and DaimlerChrysler AG said they reached agreements with China to increase imports of US-built cars and trucks to Asia's second-largest economy.

All three companies scheduled announcements tomorrow about the accords. They declined to provide details before then.

The automakers want to raise their share in China, which may pass Germany this year as the No. 3 vehicle market behind the US and Japan.

The US and Chinese governments also are seeking to increase US imports and reduce a Chinese trade surplus that's expected to rise by a quarter this year to US$130 billion.

General Motors, the world's largest automaker, will hold a "signing ceremony" related to "plans to address the burgeoning market in China," spokeswoman Toni Simonetti.

Ford, the second biggest, will complete an accord between its North American and Chinese units, after getting Chinese government approval to boost imports, spokesman Chris Vinyard said.

DaimlerChrysler, the world's fifth-largest automaker, has an agreement that will strengthen its ability to export US-made models from its Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler units, spokesman Trevor Hale said.

Industrywide sales of cars, trucks and other vehicles rose 30 percent to 3.11 million in this year's first nine months from the same period of last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

General Motors estimates the nation's total will rise 29 percent to 4.4 million for all of this year.

General Motors, which has invested at least US$1.5 billion in four factories in China, said last week that it will sell imported and domestically built Cadillac models in the country starting next year. The automaker said its sales in China rose 62 percent to 267,395 in this year's first nine months, for a 7.8 percent market share.

Ford last month said it will invest US$1.5 billion in China to expand production and boost its market share. The US automaker said it and venture partner Chongqing Changan Automobile Co plan to triple production at their Chongqing plant to 150,000 units a year.

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