September 17, 2009 / 7:45 AM / 10 years ago

TIMELINE: China car makers eye global brands

(Reuters) - Geely Automotive, the Chinese carmaker whose parent is eyeing Ford’s Volvo unit, has approached Canadian auto parts maker Magna International about possibly taking a stake in Opel, a source said.

Major Chinese automakers, including Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp, have attempted overseas acquisitions in recent years with mixed results. Chery Automobile, Hunan Changfeng Motors Co and others have had initial talks with European or U.S. automakers but made no firm commitments.

Following is a TIMELINE tracing some proposed, failed or ongoing deals reported this year:

March 18 - Beijing Automotive is said to be seeking to buy U.S. auto parts maker Delphi Corp’s non-core assets, 21st Century Business Herald reports.

June 3 - Little-known heavy machinery maker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery unveils tentative deal to buy GM’s Hummer.

June 11 - Beijing Auto is interested in buying Ford’s Volvo car unit, Wall Street Journal reports.

July 6 - Italian auto maker Fiat agrees to a 50:50 joint venture deal with Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group Co Ltd to produce car engines in China.

July 23 - GM rejects Beijing Auto bid for its Opel brand, the Financial Times reports, in favor of continuing talks with rival bidders. Beijing Auto, the Chinese partner of Daimler AG and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co, was said to be the highest bidder in the Opel auction.

Aug 1 - Beijing Auto will pay $103-$117 million for a 40 percent stake in Fujian Motor Industry Group’s 50:50 commercial vehicle venture with Daimler in southeast China, an official newspaper says.

Aug 30 - Geely is the only firm bidder so far for Ford’s Volvo unit, a Swedish business daily reports.

Sept 8 - SAIC Motor may take a passive stake in Saab Automobile by teaming up with luxury sports car maker Koenigsegg, a source says. SAIC, a GM China partner, is interested in buying into the Swedish carmaker.

Sept 9 - Geely says its parent wants to bid for Volvo. Its privately-held parent Geely Holding Group would seek full ownership of Volvo.

Sept 9 - Beijing Auto agrees to take a minority stake in Koenigsegg as part of the Swedish luxury carmaker’s purchase of General Motor’s Saab unit.

Sept 15 - Cash-strapped South Korean automaker Ssangyong Motor proposes a capital writedown that would slash the stake of SAIC, its majority Chinese shareholder.

Sept 15 - Volvo Car CEO Stephen Odell tells Swedish daily Dagens Industri that Geely had denied preparing a bid.

Sept 16 - Geely shares suspended pending bond/warrant announcement. China Business News says Geely plans to issue convertible bonds and warrants worth $250 million, and cites a Geely executive as saying this is not related to Volvo.

Sept 17 - Geely approached Magna International about possibly taking a stake in Opel, a source familiar with the matter said, but Magna is refraining for now from any such partnership.

Compiled by Gillian Murdoch, Editing by Asiadesk

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