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Nanjing motors car
China has lots of automakers. But the country engine and car technology lag far behind that in Japan and the West, and many Chinese carmakers have for years been accused of stealing designs and technology. There is no lack of ambition in the Chinese automobile industry. The Chinese billionaire Yin Mingshan has plans to move an entire $500 automobile engine plant — jointly owned by BMW and Chrysler — plant from Brazil to China There is an industrial zone devoted to automaking west of Shanghai called “Auto City.”

As of 2015, there were five Chinese carmakers that produces 1 million vehicles a year: 1) SAIC General Motors, 2) SAIC Volkswagen, 3) FAW Volkswagen, 4) Beijing Hyundai and 5) Chang'an Automobile. In 2021 there were eight: 1) SAIC; 2) FAW Group; 3) Dongfeng; 4) Chang'an; 5) GAC Group 2.144 million; 6) BAIC Group; 7) Geely; 8) Great Wall Motor (See Below)

China's auto vehicle exports doubled to a record 2.02 million in 2021, exceeding the two million mark for the first time, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). The annual export volume in 2021 was a breakthrough for exports, which hovered at over 1 million units for many years. Chinese automakers’ exported 849,500 vehicles in 2011. Geely and Chery have done well in countries like Algeria, Syria and Ukraine and markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Because of Geely’s and Chery’s success in these places China exported more cars than it imported for the first time in 2005. This isn’t saying that much because China doesn’t import very many cars except for luxury cars like Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Toyota Lexus, and only exported around 125,000 cars in 2005.

As of 2009 there were 52 foreign and domestic carmakers operating in China, compared to 15 in the United States. Many Chinese automakers are partly or entirely owned by municipal or provincial governments, however, and these lower tiers of government have pushed their manufacturers to expand as fast as possible to maximize jobs and economic output.

Ranking of Chinese Automakers

Ranking of Chinese automobile manufacturers by sales and revenue
Rank — Company — Number of sales (2021) — Revenue (2021)
1) SAIC Motor — 5.365 million — US$107.6 billion
2) FAW Group — 3.501 million — US$101.1 billion
3) Dongfeng Motor Corporation — 3.275 million — US$86.9 billion
4) Chang'an Automobile Group — 2.301 million
5) GAC Group — 2.144 million — US$57.7 billion
6) BAIC Group — 1.723 million — US$72.2 billion
7) Geely — 1.328 million — US$47.2 billion
8) Great Wall Motor — 1.281 million — US$21.52 billion
9) Chery Automobile — 0.959 million
10) BYD Auto — 0.745 million [Source: Wikipedia]

As of 2005, Chinese brands held a 26 percent market share, up from 2 percent in 2000. Top five Chinese automakers in 2005: 1) FAW Group; 2) SAIC 3) Dongfeng Motors; 4) Changan Automotive Group; and 5) Beijing Automotive Holdings. Other larger manufacturers include Guangzhou Motors, Second Auto Works. Top car makers in 2006 were: 1) SAIC GM; 2) SAIC Volkswagen; 3) FAW Volkswagen; 4) Chery; 5) Beijing Hyundai; 6) Tianjin FAW Toyota; 7) Tianjin FAW Xiali Automobile; 8) Geely Automobile; 9) Guangzhou Honda ; 10) Dongfeng Peugeot Citreon. These top 10 automakers account for 70 percent of total sales.

Important Automakers in China

GAC Group is the fifth largest auto company in China. It sold 2.144 million and had revenues of US$57.7 billion in 2021. GAC Group: 1) Domestic brand names: Trumpchi; 2) Electric vehicle (EV) brands: Aion, Hycan; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: GAC-Toyota, GAC-Honda, GAC-FCA (Jeep), GAC-Mitsubishi

BAIC Group is the sixth largest auto company in China. Based in Beijing, it employs over 130,000 staff worldwide and sold 1.723 million and had revenues of US$72.2 billion in 2021. BAIC Group: 1) Domestic brand names: Beijing, BAW, Changhe, Foton, Ruili Doda; 2) Electric vehicle (EV) brands: Arcfox; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: Beijing-Benz, Beijing-Hyundai. BAIC Group and its subsidiaries sold 2.51 million vehicles globally in 2017, earning $68.9 billion in revenue. [Source: Zhong Nan, China Daily, September 6, 2018]

Great Wall Motor is China’s largest maker of pick up trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs). It sold 1.281 million, of which 142,793 were exports, and had revenues of US$21.52 billion in 2021. Great Wall Motor: 1) Domestic brand names: GWM, Haval, WEY, TANK, POER; 2) Electric vehicle (EV) brands: ORA. Great Wall is a collectively owned enterprise, established in 1984. It is ranked as 12th largest Chinese automaker. It mainly exports to markets in the Asia-Pacific, Africa and South America. Most of these were exports from China. he company began local production in Thailand in 2021. [Source: April 26, 2022;, November 23, 2016]

In the 2010s, Great Wall Motors became China’s most profitable auto brand by making almost nothing but SUVs. It also makes electricity vehicles but according to Associated Press they look “almost comically small next to its hulking other vehicles.” [Source: Joe McDonald, Associated Press, Apr. 17, 2017]

Brilliance Auto, also known as Brilliance China Automotive Holding Ltd, started car-making joint venture with BMW in 2001 and has a deal with BMW through 2028. It has sold car under many brand names, where Jinbei and Granse are its commercial vehicle brand. Brilliance Auto Group: 1) Domestic brand names: Brilliance; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: BMW-Brilliance [Source:, November 23, 2016]

Shanghai Automotive Industries (SAIC)

Shanghai Automotive Industries (SAIC) is the largest automaker in China. It sold 5.365 million vehicles and had revenues of US$107.6 billion in 2021. It has partnerships with General Motors and Volkswagen. According to Associated Press: “Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp.: State-owned SAIC, China’s biggest domestic automaker, exemplifies the successes and failures of the Communist Party’s efforts to create competitive Chinese auto brands by decree. SAIC manufactures vehicles for General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG under rules that require global automakers to work through state-owned local partners. The popularity of GM and VW, each of which sold more than 1 million vehicles in China last year, has brought SAIC a flood of revenue. But SAIC has struggled to fulfill the ruling party’s orders to develop its own brands that appeal to consumers - its own-brand unit is losing money. “It’s a pity SAIC can’t just stick to making VWs and Chevys,” said Bernstein Research in a report in October. [Source: Associated Press, January 13, 2015]

SAIC Motor: 1) Domestic brand names: Maxus, MG, Roewe, Baojun (under SGMW), Wuling (under SGMW):2) Electric vehicle (EV) brands: Feifan, IM; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: SAIC-Volkswagen (Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi), SAIC-General Motors (Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac)

SAIC Motor is China’s largest exporter. In 2021, its overseas sale increased by 79 percent to 697,000 vehicles, including 598,000 exports and a further 99,000 vehicles produced at its overseas production plants. In Europe it sold 73,000 MG and Maxus branded vehicles, including 40 percent NEVs, with the UK, France, Germany and Sweden its main markets. The company is targeting 120,000 sales in Europe in 2022. [Source: April 26, 2022]

In 2003, SAIC obtained a share of South Korea’s Daewoo Motors. In October 2004, it acquired the controlling stake of South Korea’s Ssangyong Motor Company for $500 million. In December 2007, it bought Nanjing Automobile Group’s auto-assembly and component-making businesses. In 2007 its stock more than tripled in value. Its goal then was to sell 2 million vehicles a year by 2010. SAIC was No. 1 in sales in 2009. FAW was No. 2.SAIC sold 2.7 million vehicles in 2009, up 57.2 percent over 2008, and increased its profits tenfold.

First Auto Works (FAW)

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FAW-produced car
First Auto Works (FAW) is the second largest automaker in China. It sold 3.5 million vehicles and had revenues of US$101.1 billion in 2021.Based in Jilin Province, it makes luxury Red Flag sedans limousines and Xiali compacts and Jiefang trucks and other models. It has partnership deals with Volkswagen, Audi, Mazda and Toyota and has 30 wholly-owned units and 17 holding companies, total assets of 117 billion yuan and 129,492 employees. In 2005, it has sales of around $12 billion. Many of the taxis and cars used by government officials are made by FAW This partly because Beijing pressures taxi companies and local governments to buy FAW cars.

FAW has been producing Liberation (Jiefang) model trucks since 1949. Based on a Russian design, they were the first trucks to be build after the Communist take over of China. The 10 millionth Liberation truck was produced in October 2009.

FAW Group: 1) Domestic brand names: Hongqi, Bestune (Benteng), Senia, Haima, Junpai; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: FAW-Toyota, FAW-Volkswagen. Hongqi, a luxury car division of the automaker FAW, was first manufactured in 1958, the model number of that car was CA71. [Source:, November 23, 2016]


Dongfeng is the third largest auto company in China (2006). It sold 3.275 million vehicles and had revenues of US$86.9 billion in 2021. Based in the central province of Hebei, it makes Nissan, Honda and Citreon cars and is based in the city of Wuhan. It only owns parts of ventures and often does not have control over them. It may replace Nissan with Volvo as its partner after Volvo bought Nissan; stake in Dongfeng in 2006.

Chongqing Changan Automobile is Ford’s largest partner in China. It makes the Mondeos and Fiestas with Ford, In December 2004, ir announced it would combine with Ford’s other partner Jiangling Motors. The expansion allows Changan to qualify for government incentives. The two companies accounted for 11 percent of vehicle sales in China in 2003. Changan, which also makes Alto minicars with Japan’s Suzuki, sold 385,498 cars in 2003. Jiangling sold 58,518 minicars, light trucks and pick up trucks.

According to Associated Press: “Dongfeng Motor Corp.: State-owned Dongfeng is the local assembler for Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen and sells trucks and buses under its own brand. It owns 14 percent of Peugeot and the two companies pledged to cooperate in technology, research, manufacturing and overseas distribution. Like other state-owned automakers, Dongfeng benefits from government financial support and other favors. Dongfeng has been hurt lately by weakness in sales of Japanese brands as buyers opt for European competitors. [Source: Associated Press, January 13, 2015]

Dongfeng Motor Corporation: 1) Domestic brand names: Venucia, Fengdu, Aeolus, Forthing; 2) Electric vehicle (EV) brands: Voyah; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: Dongfeng-Honda, Dongfeng-Nissan, Dongfeng-Peugeot Citroën

Chang'an Automobile Group

Chang'an Automobile Group is the fourth largest auto company in China. It was ranked as the world's 11th largest automobile company in 2021. It sold 2.3 million vehicles in 2021. In 2015, he State-owned carmaker, headquartered in Chongqing, became the fifth Chinese carmaker to produce 1 million vehicles a year. At that time the company aimed to sell 2.33 million units by 2020, and be the 12th largest automotive brand worldwide; by 2025, it forecasts its sales volume will be 3.4 million, which would rank it 10th globally. [Source: China Daily, December 21, 2015]

Chang'an is a child group of China Weaponry Equipment and a state-owned enterprise. It has manufactured China’s first Jeep. Hafei was purchased by Chang’an Motors in 2009 and became a subsidiary company of the former. Hafei is the founder and pioneer of mini-car manufacturing and research. So far the company has seven series of product types include mini-car and limousine and nearly a hundred categories. [Source:, November 23, 2016]

Chang'an Automobile Group: 1) Domestic brand names: Changan, Oshan, Kaicene; 2) Electric vehicle (EV) brands: Shenlan; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: Changan Ford, Changan Mazda


Geely (Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd.) is the seventh largest auto company in China. Based in Hangzhou, It was ranked as the world's 14th largest automobile company in 2021 when it sold 1.328 million and had revenues of US$47.2 billion in 2021. The company is known for it flexible operation mechanism and continuous innovation. [Source:, November 23, 2016]

Geely (pronounced Jeely): 1) Domestic brand names: Geely Auto, Maple; 2) Electric vehicle (EV) brands: Geometry, Zeekr; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: Volvo Cars, Polestar, Lynk & Co, Proton, Lotus. According to Associated Press: “Geely burst onto the global stage in 2010 with its $1.8 billion acquisition of Sweden’s Volvo Cars. Geely represents a new generation of industry growth after Beijing had little success trying to use shotgun marriages between global automakers and state companies to create appealing Chinese brands. At home, Geely was known for whimsically named brands including Gleagle and Englon and for uneven quality. Geely and other independents such as Chery Automobile Co. face intense pressure from bigger, richer global rivals that are eroding their market share. In May, the company announced it will focus on marketing a single Geely brand and phase out Gleagle and other names. [Source: Associated Press, January 13, 2015]

Geely is China’s largest private-run carmaker and biggest independent auto brands, which themselves are rarities in China. Founded in 1986 as a refrigerator manufacturer, it started producing motorcycles in the 1990s and launched its first car in 2002. The company's founder, Li Shinfu, likes to view himself as the Henry Ford of China and has a dream for Geely to be a big international company. Helping the company realize that ambition is the Chinese government, which has provided Geely with access to soft loans and local government investments that has allowed it grow and purchase Volvo.

Geely exported a total of 115,000 vehicles last year, mainly to developed markets such as Europe where it sells electric and plug-in hybrid electrics. This does not include overseas sales of subsidiaries and joint ventures such as Volvo Cars and Proton. Including domestic sales, Geely sold a total of 1.33 million units in 2021. [Source: April 26, 2022]

Geely is (or was) comprised of two auto companies: Zhejiang Geely and Shanghai Naoke Guorun. It introduced the popular Merrie, which sold s for $8,700, in 2003. In 2005, it sold 140,000 vehicles, including 10,000 that were exported to 30 countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In 2004, it sold 96,700 vehicles up from 27 percent from 2003. The Geely CK sells well in Cuba where it used as taxi and a police car.

Growth of Geely and the Panda

Geely was the first Chinese automaker to present itself at the Detroit auto show. It had plans to launch a low-cost sedan, listing at less than $10,000, in the United States in 2008. It hoped to sell 25,000 vehicles the first year and increase sales to 100,000 vehicles within five years Geely had an annual output of 300,000 vehicles and a 3 percent share of the Chinese market in the late 2000s. The company displayed 55 vehicles, including 11 new models and a plug-in electric car and five other alternative fuel vehicles at the Beijing Motor Show in April 2010. Geely hopes to sell 400,000 vehicles in 2010, and 2 million by 2015. In September 2009, Goldman Sachs announced it was going to buy $250 million in Geely bonds, effectively giving it a 15 percent stake in the Chinese automakers. Geely welcomed the move not so much for the money but for the seal of approval by one of Wall Street’s most successful investment firms and the boost to its reputation and the credibility of its ambitions to be a global carmaker.

According to Reuters Geely turned to the engineering firm CH-Auto in the mid-2000s for “help on a project that led to the Panda, now one of the most popular small cars in China. CH-Auto was responsible for the exterior styling and for engineering the underpinnings. The rest was handled by Geely, according to the two companies. With the Panda, CH-Auto and Geely made a clear departure from copying. To be sure, they still selected a car to emulate or use as a benchmark: the Aygo, a “city car” that Toyota produces in the Czech Republic and has been selling in Europe since 2005. [Source: Norihiko Shirouzu, Reuters, September 18, 2012]

“But instead of simply producing a fake Aygo, engineers at CH-Auto first studied and tested the car and its components — often with the help of three-dimensional digital scanners — to collect data on design and performance. Then they tried to manufacture components by adapting parts made in China to match desired functions and performance. If suitable local parts were not available, they worked with suppliers to create new ones by simplifying the scanned Aygo designs. The purpose was “not to copy but approximate the Aygo,” said Mr. Dai, the CH-Auto senior engineer.

“One example is the Panda’s chassis. The underbody carriage, which the suspension and wheels are attached to, is critical to a vehicle’s handling capabilities on the road. The Aygo, which starts at $10,500, in Britain, has a relatively sophisticated underbody structure that is formed in a single piece by using a process called hydroforming, in which pressurized water is used to shape metal. That was a problem for the Chinese, because they did not have the technology and the lightweight steel used by Toyota was too expensive.

“Geely and CH-Auto’s solution was to use inexpensive, “everyday” steel commonly available in China, Mr. Dai said. Geely and CH-Auto divided the Panda’s chassis frame into two pieces — upper and lower units — to simplify their structure so they could be easily stamped and welded together. Even with the use of less expensive materials and processes, Geely and CH-Auto were largely able to match the performance of the Aygo’s platform in terms of the vehicle handling, which Mr. Dai said had been confirmed by a third-party testing company. More important, Geely and CH-Auto were able to produce a platform for the Panda with “roughly half” the Aygo’s cost, according to Mr. Dai.

“The car’s stylized exterior — featuring a panda-eyed grill and tail lamps in the shape of paws — was considered cute and timely when the car was introduced in 2008 to coincide with the Beijing Olympics. The exterior contrasted with the car’s highly utilitarian interior, including exposed screws. The 1.3-liter, 86-horsepower motor pulls the Panda from a standstill to 100 kilometers, or 60 miles, an hour in an unthrilling 13.1 seconds. Nor is the Panda, like other no-frills Chinese cars, ready to meet the stringent safety regulations of Europe and the United States. But there is one very eye-catching thing about the car: its price. A new Panda starts at 40,000 renminbi in China and about $6,550, abroad.

Geely Buys Volvo and Lotus

In March 2010, Geely bought Volvo for $1.8 billion from Ford. It was China’s biggest overseas car purchase. Ford and Geely had been negotiating the deal, which had Beijing’s support for more than two years. In 2009, Geely had 16 percent of the turnover and half the workforce of Volvo. The same year Volvo lost $1.3 billion and sold only 335,000 cars, with only 22,000 sold in China. Ford paid $6.5 billion for Volvo in 1999. Geely has plans to build a Volvo factory near Beijing that produced 300,000 vehicles a year.

The match seems a little strange in that Geely is known mainly from producing small, cheap cars and Volvo staked its reputation over the years on producing reliable safe cars embraced by the American and European middle class. As it grows and develops, Geely hopes to profit from Volvos’s expertise on making safe cars and running a global supply chain and in return provide Volvo with access to China’s potentially-lucrative and fast-growing car market and double the carmaker’s sales to 600,000 by 2015. There are many who have doubts about whether Geely is up to the job of turning around a well-known but ailing automaker.

Pundits figured Geely bought Volvo from Ford was to expand China's economic heft — and its brands — overseas. But as Geely's founder, Li Shufu, put it, "Volvo will find a new home market in China."

Volvo expanded it dealer network to 81 Chinese cities. By September 2010, China was Volvo’s third largest market. The company is planning to build a factory to make compact and economy cars in Chengdu in Sichuan Province Geely acquired an Australian drive train transmission supplier and leading gearbox manufacturer.

In 2013, Geely bought Manganese Bronze, the maker of London's iconic black taxis, for $17.5 million. In 2017, Geely obtained stakes of near 50 percent in the Malaysian automaker Proton and icon sports car and motorracing company Lotus. Associated Press reported: Geely agreed to buy 49.9 percent of Malaysian automaker Proton, gaining a platform to expand into Southeast Asia. The deal gives Geely a distribution network in Southeast Asia, where non-Japanese brands have struggled. Proton gets a financially strong partner and possibly more advanced technology. Proton Holdings Bhd. was founded in 1983 by the Malaysian government to create a domestic auto brand. It bought Lotus in 1996. As part of the deal, Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. will acquire 51 percent of British automaker Lotus from Proton for 51 million pounds ($66.2 million), officials said. [Sources: Eileen Ng and Joe McDonald, Associated Press, May 24, 2017; Reuters, February 1, 2013]


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Chery QQ
Chery Automobile is the ninth largest auto company in China. It sold 959,000 vehicles in 2021. It was the fourth largest Chinese car maker and the first Chinese car maker to export vehicles. Based in Wuhu in Anhui Province and owned by the Anhui provincial government, it uses European manufacturing equipment, stolen European factory designs and Japanese production techniques to make QQ minicars, which sell for as little as $4,000 and are so remarkably similar to the Chevrolet Spark that GM sued them for patent violations and espionage. The Chinese name of the company is Qirui, which has links to good fortune.

Chery Automobile Co. Ltd. Is a state-owned corporation founded in 1997. It started producing automobile in 1999. Currently, it is selling different modes of car under four brand names: Chery, Karry, Rely and Riich. Chery Automobile: 1) Domestic brand names: Chery, Exeed, Jetour; 3) Joint ventures with foreign-brands: Chery-Jaguar Land Rover. Chery exports cars to 70 developing countries in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. It hopes to double foreign sales in 2010 to 100,000 vehicles. Chery released the Riich G5 car with an advertisement featuring Lionel Messi, a star soccer player for Argentina and Barcelona. [Source:, November 23, 2016]

Chery Automobile exports surging by over 136 percent to 269,154 units in 2021 — to markets in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and South America. Its global sales rose by 32 percent to 961,926 units. [Source: April 26, 2022]

One of the main forces behind Chery (pronounced “cheery”) is Yin Tingyao, a former executive at Volkswagen that helped that company get started in China. The precursor of Chery — a secret assembly line — was set up using equipment purchased from an outdated Ford engine factory in England and plans from a Spanish subsidiary of Volkswagen that use the same platform of the Volkswagen Jetta. [Source: Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, September 26, 2005]

Growth and Success of Chery in the 2000s

The precursor of Chery manufactured its first engine in May 1999 and completed its first car seven months later, using Jetta parts from suppliers who were supposed to work exclusively for Volkswagen. Volkswagen was furious. The government was angry but later forgave the company. An executive at Chery told The New Yorker, “If you apply in the traditional manner you’ll end up waiting for years. During that time, the opportunity may very well pass you by.”

Chery was well financed but how well financed was s not clear. There was one report of a $610 million government loan. By 2004, Chery was the seventh largest Chinese car maker, with 90,000 vehicles old in 2004. At that time the average age of Chery employees was 24 and some of the engineers earned $200 a month, lived in dormitories and had only possessed driver’s licenses for a few months. By copying, or perhaps stealing deigns, they saved a bundle in research and development, knowing that they chances were slim they would be prosecuted for what they did in China.

Another important force behind Chery was Malcolm Bricklin, an American entrepreneur who brought Suburu to America in the late sixties, designed a futuristic sports car with gull-wing doors in the 1970s, brought the Yugo to America in the 1980s, declared bankruptcy in the 1990s and in the early 2000s decided that Chery was the wave of the future. Bricklin works through Visionary Vehicles, a Delaware-registered company that markets the Chery in the United States.

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Another Chery car
Chery has had big success with its QQ micro cars, selling 80,00 of them in 2004 and 110,000 in 2005. Marketed using Internet and cell phone schemes, it is known not only for its cheap price but also for its flashy canary yellow and lime green colors The QQ accounted for 60 percent of Chery’s sales. Chery’s A15 Qiyun and “Son of East” models have been flops.

In 2005, GM Dawoo sued the Chery because the QQ minicar is virtual copy of the Chevrolet Spark The QQ costs about $1,500 less than the Spark and outsold it 6 to 1 in 2004. The two cars are so similar that their doors are interchangeable. When asked how th QQ managed to be to so cheap, the manager at one Chery dealership told the Financial Times, “Because we do not have patent fees.” Chery was cheeky enough to apply for a patent for some of the designs it likely stole. Chery and GM reached a settlement out of court and did not disclose the terms.

Chery built 272,000 vehicles in 2006. It exports cars to Russia, Indonesia and some African countries and hopes to export 250,000 vehicles to the United States in 2007 and one million by 2012. Among the five models it hopes to sell there is the T-11 SUV which look remarkably similar ro a Toyota RAV4 and luxury sedan that sells for around $20,000. As of 2006, Chery had signed up more than 25 dealerships in the United States and hopes to eventually have 250 nationwide. In 2006 it made a deal with DaimlerChysler to build subcompact cars in its behalf.

In August 2007, Chery made a deal to supply Fiat with 100,000 engines a year. A planned joint venture with Chery and Fiat that was scheduled to start production in 2009 was delayed. Chery also has a deal to make small cars for Chrysler. Chery was named as a possible buyer of troubled Ford or Volvo.

Nanjing Automobile Group and MG

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Nanjing Motors car

Nanjing Automobile Group is China’s oldest auto maker. Founded in 1947, it employs 16,000 people and has an annual production capacity of around 200,000 vehicles. It makes cars, trucks and buses and produces Palio and Sienna cars with Fiat. It lost money in 2004.

In July 2005, Nanjing Automobile Group bought the collapsed British automaker MG Rover Group for $87 million. MG Rover had declared bankruptcy a few months before, with debts of $2.4 billion, after another Chinese automaker, Shanghai Automotive Industry, pulled out of a merger deal that was expected the save the company. Nanjing Automobile Group’s purchase left it liable for some of MG Rover’s debt but gave it access to new technology, a well-known brand name, and the ability to produce a wide range of vehicles.

Nanjing Automobile Group plans to move some of MG Rover’s operations to China and keep some in England and reopen MG Rover’s Lonbridge plant in central England, which had been forced to close down, with the loss of 6,000 jobs. MG Rover is about 100 years old. At its peak in the 1960s it produced 40 percent of the cars sold in Britain and employed 250,000 people, with Longbridge being one of the largest auto mobile factories un the world. In recent years it had fallen on hard times. It had not introduced a new model since 1998, had only a 3 percent share of the British auto market at the time of its collapse and had been kept afloat for several years with bail-out loans from the government.

Nanjing plans to build MG brand cars in Oklahoma, which could make it the first Chinese automaker to assemble vehicles in the United States. The plan is keep management in Britain for a while because Nanjing wants MG to “retain its Britishness.”

Nanjing produced it first cars under the MG brand in March 2007 — the 1.8 liter MG TF roadster and MG 7295and 7275sedans — at the plant near eastern Nanjing. The brand name has been renamed Ming Jue or Modern Gentleman. The cars will go on sale in late 2007.

In June 2007, MG TFs began rolling off the production line at the Longbridge plant in Birmingham. The aim there is produce 15,000 MGs a year there. The plant, which once employed 30,000 workers, now has just 130 involved in car manufacturing. . The number may increase to 250 but still is a fraction of the 6,000 that were employed at the plant when it closed down in 2005. The Longdrige site is being developed for other industrial usages.


BYD Auto is the tenth largest auto company in China. It sold 745,000 vehicles in 2021. Shenzhen-based company that became the world’s second largest battery maker in less than a decade. As of early 2009, it had 130,000 employees at seven main facilities in China. Its complex in Shenzhen has a soccer stadium for employee games, an extensive apartment complex for employee’s families, schools for their children and gardens with palm trees.

BYD was founded by Wang Chuanfu in 1995 when he was in his early 30s. Wang graduated from Central South University in 1987 and is an expert in materials science. BYD went public on the Hong Kong exchange in 2002. Warren Buffett is among its investors. In September 2008, he purchased a 10 percent stake of the company for $230 million.

See Electric Cars

Image Sources: Wiki Commons, Makers of the cars shown

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated July 2022

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