DaimlerChrysler Gets Green Light To Manufacture Mercedes Vans In China

Company and two others have invested $262 million.

BEIJING (AP) - China has approved three automakers including DaimlerChrysler AG to set up a joint venture to manufacture Mercedes-Benz vans, state media said Thursday.

DaimlerChrysler, along with the Fujian Auto Industry Group and Taiwan's China Motor Corp., have invested $262 million and are aiming for an annual production of 40,000 vehicles, the Shanghai Securities News said.

It did not give any details on where the factory will be located but said it would be completed in 2008.

Fujian Auto will have a 50 percent stake in the operation, which has been approved by the Commerce Ministry, while DaimlerChrysler will have 33.78 percent and China Motor will have 16.22 percent, the newspaper said.

DaimlerChrysler, the German-U.S. automaker, is a latecomer to manufacturing in China, the world's second-largest car market after the United States, with 7 million new vehicle sales a year.

But before its 1998 merger with Daimler Benz AG, Chrysler Corp. became the first Western company to produce vehicles in China since the 1949 communist revolution when it opened a joint-venture Jeep factory in Beijing in 1983.

That factory has since closed, but the joint venture continues to produce Jeeps for sale in China at another plant in the suburbs of Beijing. It is DaimlerChrysler's only other car plant in China.

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