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China auto news this week(2007.05.21-2007.05.26)

Jorvan From www.gasgoo.com | May 26 , 2007

The buyout of Chrysler group had little influence on China automakers and their JVs with international auto giants. Chery, BAIC and Southeast Motors said that their projects and cooperation will still go ahead; furthermore some Chinese enterprises will negotiate with Chrysler for a next round.

Chinese stock markets are booming and absorbing large amount of capitals, so how is the influence to auto markets, good or bad? Any comment right now is still early.

The following are top news this week:

China bus output and sales top 100,000 units during first 4 months
By Joanne   From:www.gasgoo.com May 21 2007

China witnessed faster growth of the auto industry in Apr. than in Mar.. Both the output and sales of buses during Jan.-Apr. topped 100,000 units, the industry organization CAAM said.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers' statistics show that the production of buses in Apr. reaches 34,900 units, increasing by 26.77% M/M and by 21.8% Y/Y. The sales of buses in the same month increased by 10.13% M/M and by 14.83% Y/Y, to 32,200 units.

The table shows the performance in Apr.
Sector (of buses)   output          Y/Y                 M/M               sales            Y/Y  M/M
Large-sized              4,405        +27.42%     +46.35%         4337        +26.11%+54.40%
Medium-sized          6,321        -1.57%        +22.29%          6401        -1.19% +27.43%
Mini                          24,200       +28.76%     +24.92%      21,500      +18.41%+0.26%
Total                        34,900       +21.80%     +26.77%      32,200      +14.83% +10.13%
During the first four months, the output and sale of the buses reached 109,200 units and 108,100, growing by 11% and 15.6%, separately. The sector of large-sized coaches outperforms other sectors, with an output of 14,000 units, an increase of 25.74% Y/Y. The outputs of medium-buses and mini-buses are 21,600 units and 73,600 units, with growth rates of 15.29% and 11.81% Y/Y. The large-sized buses increased by 22.53% Y/Y with sales reaching 14,000 units. The sales of medium and light sized buses also increased by 14.37% and 14.72%, separately.

The top ten bus manufacturers are:
Huachen Jinbei(Golden Cup)---21398 units
Nanjing Iveo---8187 units
Jiangling---8156 units
Yutong---6680 units
Xiamen Golden Dragon---5999 units
Southeast---5597 units
Shenyang Zhongshun---5494 units
Kinglong Suzhou---5245 units
Beiqi Foton---5117 units
Rongcheng Huatai---4331 units

These ten sold a total of 76,200 bus units during the first four months, accounting for 70.49% of the whole market volume.

SUV sales to reach 200,000 units
By Ally   From:www.gasgoo.com May 24 2007

According to statistics from China Automotive Industry Association, China SUV sales in the first four months were 103,473 units, leaded by Great Wall with 18,851 units sold. Chery Auto, Hyuandai Motor, Changfeng Motor and Dongfeng Honda Auto SUV sales were 14,950, 13,918, 7,833 and 7,806 units, respectively.

Experts say the good performance of SUVs this year shows that automakers are less fragile to overall market fluctuations.

Along with the launch of Hafu CUV, Chery Tiggo, Shuanghuan CEO, Shuguang Aolong CUV and Wuxian SUV, self brand SUVs are gaining strong market shares, thanks to the fuel efficiency of the diesel engines equipped on these models.

It is predicted that mid-high range SUVs will become the mainstream model in 2007, with sales of 200,000 units, up 20% year-on-year.

SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. The modern 4x4 revolution really started with the Second World War Jeep, and the first generation SUV is the Chrysler Cherokee born in the 1980s.

Chery to enter next turn of negotiation with Chrysler
By Joanne   From:www.gasgoo.com May 23 2007

China's largest independent automaker, Chery, denied that its negotiation with Chrysler was reportedly halted, confirming it would soon back to the cooperation.

According to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, Chery has suspended the cooperation program with Chrysler in the wake of Cerberus Capital Management's takeover of Chrysler. "The report is wrong," said Jin Gebo, Vice General manager of Chery sales company, to the local media.

Some insiders exposed that the high-rank management of Chrysler flied to Wuhu, the city where Chery is based, to renegotiate the OEM deal. Chery had originally agreed with Chrysler to build a new A-segment car in China based on the brand-new Chery A1 model, which would be sold under the Dodge nameplate in Canada and Mexico, and potentially other overseas markets.

Even the secured agreement of cooperation continues to be effective, the details such as sales market, technology cooperation, spare parts supplying and distribution of interests are still undecided---the industry analysts are concerned that the deal will undergo changes after the inroad of Cerberus.

SDRC: April car market prices saw a small decline
By Jorvan   From:www.gasgoo.com May 23 2007

SDRC latest statistics show that automobile market prices continue at a slight declining trend, China-made cars and imported cars prices fell by a small margin in April this year.

In April, China-made cars prices declined 0.29% compared with the price in early months; prices declined 1.72% compared with the price at the beginning of this year. Passenger cars and commercial vehicle prices all decreased. Meanwhile, commercial vehicle's overall price declined, prices declined 0.53% compared to that of March.

In particular, since the beginning of this year the price of imported cars has fluctuated, April's import price rose by 0.12% to 0.2% compared to that of March, and fell 0.78% compared to that at the beginning of this year.

Not "strip and flip" Chrysler, Cerberus bet on China market
By Joanne   From:www.gasgoo.com May 22 2007

Chrysler was merged by Cerberus Capital Management, but its investment in the China market never change, Chrysler's officials said, adding possibility of further enhancement.

Cerberus insisted that it is focused on the long-term success of the acquisition, "We want to be part of restoring Chrysler to the front ranks of the auto industry, where it belongs," said Cerberus Chairman John W. Snow. He promised to maintain Chrysler's three brands intact and to shield Chrysler managers from the scrutiny of Wall Street, giving the automaker room to make a new start. The former Treasury secretary's words cleared the union's concern that Cerberus would strip and flip Chrysler, sent the workers jobless.

DCX currently have several cooperation programs in China, of which only the commercial vehicle program is operated by Daimler alone. With the two broken up, these programs in China will be adjusted. As to how much the operations here will be transferred, depends on the wait for the North American business to be cleared. BeijingBenz-DaimlerChrysler Automotive Ltd. (BBDC) is DCX's largest cooperative item in China, whose product portfolio includes Chrysler and Benz brands. A BBDC official who insisted being unnamed said that he thought the current production of the well-sold Chrysler 300C, new Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans and the planned production of Sebring won't be affected. Gunter Butschek, president and CEO of BBDC told the press that the partnership will break even this year.

Chrysler's OEM deal with Chery, an independent Chinese automaker is reported to be halted, but DCX Northeast Asia spokesman Trevor Hale is still confident that they'll keep the negotiations on track.

The Chery deal, struck last December, was considered a breakthrough for Chrysler, which was searching for a low-cost partner to build and supply subcompacts. Chery was scheduled to make cars under the Dodge brand for the US and European markets.
Chrysler also plans to enhance its parternerships with Fujian Motor Industry Group and Southeast Motors.

DVX is lagging behind its competitor, such as GM, VW and Toyota, in China's fast-growing vehicle market. Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda said last week that the automaker wanted to expand the Chery deal or seek other international partnerships. Possibly new Chinese investments or cooperators will be announced by Chrysler in the future.

"We have stipulated a long-term scheme for Chrysler's operation at the Chinese market, and we will revise it every three to six months,"  Eric Ridenour, Chrysler's chief operating officer, declared at Shanghai auto show this Mar.

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