Chery Signs Deal With Uruguay To Make Bullet-Proof Cars

Company says its a growing niche market.

Chery Automobile, China's largest private car maker, has inked a deal with a Uruguayan firm to make bullet-proof sedans for export, the company said March 14. The agreement will create a joint venture giving Chery a 70% stake and Uruguay's Bognor 30% share in the company to be based in Wuhu city, the Chinese group's headquarters in Anhui province in the east.

"Bullet proof cars are a growing niche," Fan Shiwei, Chery's assistant general manager, said. "There are no auto companies in China currently mass producing bullet proof cars and this means that Chery has again broken new ground," he added.

Chery, which is the fourth-largest car maker in China's fast-expanding market, last year sold 305,200 vehicles, up 61%, according to previous reports. The ambitious Chinese carmaker has only produced cars for nine years but has ambitions, saying it is determined to enter the key U.S. markets. Currently it mainly sells sedans at home and to developing countries.

In January it agreed an alliance with DaimlerChrysler to build small and fuel-efficient models for the global market. The company will unveil the Chery A1 model -- its first collaborative effort with Chrysler -- at the Shanghai auto show in April, a report by the official Xinhua agency said March 14.

The new design will be the first of at least six planned models between the two auto manufacturers, the report said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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