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Beijing Motor brand revives after 30-yrs

Updated: 2012-03-26 10:09

(China Daily)

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First model a subcompact, three more planned this year and 20 more by 2015

Beijing Motor Corp, the partner of both Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Corp, revived the Beijing brand for passenger cars by launching a subcompact model last week, three decades after the last auto carrying the badge rolled off the line.

The E Series model, retailing between 53,800 yuan ($8,276) and 86,800 yuan, has two engine options - 1.3 liters and 1.5 liters. The model is based on the platform of Daimler's Smart ForFour.

Beijing Motor brand revives after 30-yrs

The Beijing E-Class was launched at 798 Art Zone in the capital city on March 19, 2012. [Photo/China Daily]

China's fifth-largest auto group plans to offer another three models under the Beijing nameplate later this year, including a micro vehicle, a SUV and a 2.0-liter sedan based on acquired Saab technologies.

Beijing Motor bought the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 models as well as engine and transmission technologies at the end of 2009 from the failed Swedish carmaker for $200 million.

Han Yonggui, president of Beijing Motor, said the company plans to launch more than 20 Beijing-brand passenger vehicle models by 2015, including micro, compact, mid-sized and full-sized cars as well as a SUV.

He said the company aims to sell 700,000 vehicles under the Beijing badge and its other own brands annually by 2015.

This year, the carmaker plans to find 140 dealerships across the country and sell 100,000 Beijing-brand vehicles, he said.

It now has manufacturing bases for its own-brand passenger vehicles in Beijing, the southwestern municipality of Chongqing and the southern cities of Zhuhai and Guangzhou.

The company started making Beijing sedans in the late 1950s, but production came to a standstill at the beginning of 1980s due to financial woes and a shift to cooperation with foreign partners.

Beijing Motor brand revives after 30-yrs

Beijing Motor runs a joint venture with Hyundai to build a slew of models from South Korea's biggest carmaker. It also has a tie-up with Daimler to assemble the Mercedes-Benz E and C-class premium cars.

"We are also eyeing overseas markets for the Beijing-brand vehicles. We are considering overseas demands in our development for future products," said Dong Haiyang, vice-president of Beijing Motor for sales and marketing.

The company plans to "explore deeply" some major growth markets, such as Russia, Southeast Asia and South America, Dong said.

Beijing Motor also produces Foton-brand commercial vehicles.

The group aims to boost total sales to 1.8 million vehicles this year from 1.54 million units in 2011.