( dpa ) - Chinese automakers put a foot forward Monday towards tapping the US auto market, with Changfeng Group and Geely Holding unveiling plans at the Detroit auto show.
Geely Holding Group Co., China's largest privately-owned automaker, intends to stake an initial investment of 500 million dollars on a factory in Mexico to produce models for the US, Bloomberg financial news service reported.
"We have to design cars fully in compliance with the demands of American consumers," founder Li Shufu told Bloomberg in an intervew at the North American International Auto Show.
Geely would join China FAW Group Corp in plans for a Mexican plant.
State-owned Changfeng Group Co Ltd plans to enter the US market sometime in 2009, and could assemble its models in the United States, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Changfeng Chairman Li Jianxin said through a translator that the company had the technology for the US market but wanted to know more about US consumer needs. Changfeng unveiled two new hatchback models, the Liebao CS7 and the Kylin.
Geely, the first Chinese auto maker to display vehicles at the Detroit show in 2006, is to offer a medium-sized hatchback or sedan for the US, Mexican and remaining North American market, chairman Li said.
Li declined to say who the company's partners in Mexico were or to provide a timeframe for the factory. China FAW plans to build a 150- million-dollar plant in Mexico's Michoacan state with Grupo Elektra SAB.
Geely has export targets of 1.3 million vehicles a year by 2015, compared to 30,000 at present. It now assembles cars from component kits in Russia, Ukraine and Indonesia.
The Mexico factory would be Geely's most expensive overseas facility and its first assembly plant outside of China with full manufacturing capabilities, said George Zhao, the company vice president who set up its international business.
The factory would open with a 50,000-unit-capacity and could expand to 300,000, Li said.