Place your bets: Which Chinese automaker is opening a factory in Baja?
According to various reports, a currently unnamed Chinese auto manufacturer has struck a deal with the Governor of the state to invest several million dollars into building a manufacturing plant in the area. So who is it? Chery, Roewe, Nanjing MG? Who will be the first Chinese company to open a factory in North America? Place your bets in the comment box.
Returning from an Asian trade mission last week, Baja California Gov. Eugenio Elorduy Walther released information that a Chinese carmaker plans to invest $300 million to establish an auto assembly factory in the border city that would employ 3,000.
Sergio Tagliaprietra, the states economic development secretary, said this week that he is unable to provide further details. He declined to identify the company or the vehicle or vehicles it would produce.
The announcement would come from the business, he said.
Officials at the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles and the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., could not be reached for comment.
The arrival of such a large Chinese venture in Baja California would be ironic since about one-third of the maquiladora manufacturing plants the state lost during the 2000-03 industry crisis relocated to China.
A Tijuana auto plant would not be the first North American presence for a Chinese automaker. In March, the newly formed Tiger Truck company started construction on an assembly plant in Jasper, Texas, to produce small, off-road trucks based on designs from the private ChangAn Automobile Group. ChangAn is Chinas third-largest automaker.
Chery Automobile, a government-controlled company based in Shanghai, plans to start exporting two car models to Mexico in the near future. Some see that move as a prelude to eventual assembly of the vehicles at Chryslers manufacturing plant in Toluca. The two companies have been talking about various cooperative efforts, including selling Chery-built cars in North America under the Chrysler nameplate.
There are more than 100 Chinese automakers, most fewer than eight years old, and auto analysts consider about 18 to 20 truly competitive, with production large enough to consistently supply Chinas growing market demand.
Domestic production capacity in China has reached 3 million vehicles a year, with annual increases ranging from 20 percent to 25 percent.
It is unknown whether a Chinese company manufacturing in Tijuana would attempt to follow the lead of Japanese and Korean automakers in penetrating the cutthroat U.S. automotive market, the analysts said.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune