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BAIC to launch self-developed cars

BEIJING – Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. (BAIC) disclosed recently its schedule of developing models of its own brand. The first lineup may include five car models with the “Beijing” marque and one SUV.
Xu Heyi, the chairman of BAIC and Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler Automobile Co., Ltd., said in an interview that BAIC will put more emphasis on self development in coming years. According to Xu, the first model with the “Beijing” brand will debut at the Beijing International Auto Show in April next year. The second and third models will be launched during the Beijing 2008 Olympics and on the 60th anniversary of the PRC in 2009.
Xu also denied the rumor that the first BAIC model will be developed based on Hyundai’s Sonata, and announced that the models will be manufactured independently by BAIC. Having joined BAIC as the board chairman last October, Xu is hoped to revive the two Beijing companies he leads.
In February BAIC set up an R&D center with a total investment of ¥510 million to integrate the R&D human resources in Beijing and improve competitiveness.
The “11th Five-Year Plan” for the automobile industry mandates that sales of China-developed models will account for 50 percent of total sales in the domestic market. Accordingly, many domestic companies and some JVs are vying to crowd into the front row of independent brands.

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