SHANGHAI, May 26 (Reuters) - Chinese car maker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. said on Thursday that it will soon assign a contractor to assemble its cars in Malaysia for sale in southeast Asia, moving a step closer to its aim to become an export oriented manufacturer.
The company is in talks with a number of potential dealers and contractors, including Alado Corp., and mass production in Malaysia is expected to start in September, said Geely's executive director Lawrence Ang.
"This is a very important step for us," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Geely will export semi-knocked-down units to Malaysia, where a contract manufacturer will assemble and sell the cars in Malaysia and other countries in the region.
"There is no capital investment from Geely but we will sell the parts and transfer technology to the contracted manufacturer," Ang said.
He said the deal, which he expects to be signed very soon, will generate both revenues and profits for Geely this year.
Geely, which makes some of the cheapest cars in China, aims to eventually export two-thirds of its output.
The company plans to sell 120,000 cars this year with about 10,000 units for export. It shipped 4,846 cars overseas in 2004, mostly to Syria and Egypt.
Shares in Geely were unchanged in early Thursday trade at HK$0.405, after falling about 42 percent in the past year through Wednesday amid lower sales and price cuts in the China auto market.