SHANGHAI Dec 15 Chery Automobile, China's
largest indigenous car maker, will basically stay away from
overseas acquisitions even though it has been approached
repeatedly, its chairman was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
"We have been offered many fancy proposals (by investment
bankers). Their business is to buy and sell," Yin Tongyao said in
an interview published on Sohu.com (SOHU.O), a Chinese Internet
"They want you to get married today and split the next day,
this is typically what investment bankers do...and we won't be
Yin also denied oversea media reports about Chery's purchase
of a Fiat FIA.MI car plant on the Italian island of Sicily.
"I was told that foreign media said we had bought a Fiat
plant. There is no such thing," Yin was quoted as saying.
Italy's La Repubblica newspaper had reported that Chery was
in talks to take over the Fiat car factory.
Industry sources told Reuters that they were "bemused" and
did not see it making sense for Chery, as the plant is on an
island and the logistics of exporting had hampered its current
Chery executives could not be reached immediately for
comment. Fiat declined to comment.
Still, many other Chinese automakers have been chasing
Western brands to take advantage of a global industry downturn.
Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co, the country's fifth
largest automaker, has acquired some assets of General Motors'
[GM.UL] Saab unit as part of a push to develop its own-brand
cars. Geely Automobile Holdings group (0175.HK) has also been
named preferred bidder for Ford Motor's (F.N) Volvo car business.
Chery, maker of one of China's best-selling compact cars QQ,
had also tried to raise its profile by cooperating with foreign
automakers, but refrained from doing so to avoid risks, Yin said.
Rather than acquiring and trying to revive an overseas brand,
Chinese automakers can also work their own way up to the higher
end, he said in March.
Also in that month, Chery unveiled its first self-developed
medium-to-high end sedan, Riich G6, which Yin and other Chery
executives hope can eventually compete with Volkswagen AG's
(VOWG.DE) famed Audi A6.
In July 2007, Chery and Chrysler LLC agreed to manufacture
compact cars under the Chrysler badge for sale in the Americas,
but the plan was aborted after Nissan Motor (7201.T) reached a
similar pact with the U.S. automaker.
It has delayed a car venture with Fiat, which later forged a
manufacturing partnership with Guangzhou Automobile.
(Reporting by Fang Yan and Jacqueline Wong in Shanghai;
Additional reporting by Jo Winterbottom in Milan)