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Daimler and Foton set up alliance

DAIMLER AG and China's Beiqi Foton Motor Co will form an alliance to jointly make trucks and engines, a move that would further expand Beiqi Foton's presence in overseas markets.

The deal signed in the presence of China's Premier Wen Jiabao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday was for the setting up of a 6.35-billion-yuan (US$929 million) venture in Beijing to make trucks and engines, Foton said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday.

As earlier announced, the production of diesel engines is expected to start in 2011 and trucks in 2012. The annual production capacity for heavy-duty trucks is estimated at 100,000 units by 2015.

Overseas truck makers have revved up their expansion in China as demand for commercial vehicles may pick up as the country has announced a 4-trillion-yuan (US$486 billion) economic stimulus package, which centers on construction and transport projects, to spur domestic consumption and minimize a possible economic downturn.

Analysts said the venture would also benefit Foton as it would enhance the firm's international competitiveness and build it into a global vehicle maker.


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