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SHIJIAZHUANG - One of China's major privately owned automakers, Great Wall Motors, will work with a US company to develop electric vehicles, sources from Great Wall Motors said Thursday.
The automaker signed an agreement Tuesday with CODA Automotive at the ongoing Beijing International Automotive Exhibition to jointly design and build an economy-class electric car that will be aimed at Chinese, US and European markets.
According to the agreement, the car will be built at Great Wall Motors' plant in Baoding city of Hebei province, with the first model expected to come off the assembly line in the second quarter of 2014.
"We will maintain a long-term cooperative partnership with CODA Automotive so we can offer leading electric vehicles amid a looming global energy and environmental crisis," said Wei Jianjun, board chairman of Great Wall Motors.
Originally a pick-up truck maker, Great Wall Motors has expanded its product line to sport utility vehicles, buses and sedans. The company went public at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at the end of 2003 and was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in September 2011.
The company's auto sales totaled 462,700 units in 2011, up 27.3 percent year-on-year amid the overall market's mild growth of 2.45 percent.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, CODA Automotive is a privately-owned company that designs, manufactures and sells electric vehicles and lithium-ion battery systems.