China OKs Suzuki JV

BEIJING — Suzuki Motor Corp. says Beijing has approved its second joint venture in China. Under the agreement, Suzuki will produce 100,000 small commercial vehicles annually in a new joint venture in Jiangxi province in southeast China. Jiangxi Changhe Suzuki Automobile Co. reportedly is capitalized at some US$55 million.

Volvo wants bus venture

SHANGHAI — AB Volvo is negotiating with China to establish a city bus manufacturing joint venture in Shanghai, published reports here say. Volvo already has a luxury coach venture in Xi'an and is preparing to start production at a new heavy-duty truck venture with China National Heavy Truck Corp. in Jinan. Volvo, however, recently decreased its production targets in the heavy-truck venture, due to slack demand. The company now plans to sell 10,000 of its heavy trucks in the next five years, which would give the JV a 25% market share.

Ferrari sells first Modena

BEIJING — The first Ferrari 360 Modena has been sold in China. The latest sports car from Maranello was unveiled here in October. According to Ferrari sources, the first 360 Modena also is the 51st Ferrari ever sold in China. The sales volume remains rather low in mainland China, especially considering that Hong Kong is buying an average of 50 Ferraris every year.

The problem on the mainland is not the shortage of millionaires there but “the embarrassment that the ownership of a Ferrari might create,” says Alex Yip, Ferrari sales representative in China.

Jeeps help fight poverty

BEIJING — Beijing Jeep Co. Ltd. wins a bid from the World Bank to aid in poverty-relief efforts. Beijing Jeep, a joint venture between DaimlerChrysler AG and Beijing Automotive Works, agrees to deliver 333 4-wheel-drive Cherokees, worth an estimated RMB62.4 million (US$7.5 million,) to health authorities in nine Chinese provinces. The vehicles will serve as special fleets for transporting vaccines and other supplies to impoverished regions.

VW funds technical center

SHANGHAI — Volkswagen AG signs a deal with Shanghai's Tongji University to establish an automotive technical research center. Under the terms of the agreement, VW reportedly will provide the center with RMB5.1 million (US$614,000) over three years, in an effort to create a group of automotive experts in China. In a separate agreement, VW, which through joint ventures is China's No.1 automaker, donates some RMB4 million (US$481,000) to establish a giant panda research center in China.