UPDATE 1-Chery gets regulatory nod for Jaguar Land Rover JV

Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:46am EDT

(Adds Chery spokesman's quote, details)

BEIJING, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Jaguar Land Rover and Chery Automobile Co Ltd have won regulatory approval to form a 12.1 billion yuan ($1.92 billion) car venture in China, the Chinese automaker said on Friday.

The deal would help raise the profile of Chery, a mass volume player aspiring to gain access to the lucrative upscale segment dominated by foreign brands.

It also marks Jaguar Land Rover's latest effort to expand its appeal in the world's largest auto market, where luxury sedans and SUVs remain in hot demand even as the overall car market cools.

When asked to confirm a local media report that the project had won approval from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a Chery spokesman said: "We heard the project has been approved, but we have yet to receive the official notice from NDRC."

The Chery-JLR venture will be based in Changshu city near Shanghai with an annual capacity of 130,000 cars. The partners will make Land Rover SUVs initially, followed by Jaguars in the second phase.

Earlier in the year, JLR and Chery received the green light for the venture from China's environment ministry.

JLR, controlled by India's Tata Motors Ltd, had previously explored joint venture deals with other Chinese partners, including Great Wall Motor Co Ltd , but made little headway.

The Chery tie will give JLR a local production base in China, where global luxury markers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are tapping into the growing ranks of wealthy Chinese. (Reporting by Fang Yan in BEIJING and Kazunori Takada in SHANGHAI; Editing by Michael Urquhart) (yan.fang@thomsonreuters.com; 86 10 6627 1233; Reuters Messaging: yan.fang.reuters.com@reuters.net)