SINGAPORE — DaimlerChrysler AG begins talks with Cycle & Carriage Bintang, Malaysia's Mercedes-Benz distributor and assembler, aimed at taking control of distribution. C&C Bintang is 49% owned by C&C and 13% owned by JI Motor Holdings, a company owned by Hong Kong's Jardine Co. DC business accounts for more than half of C&C's annual profit.

A DC spokesman says his company is interested in participating in the local wholesale business. The automaker already has reached agreements to take over the Mercedes wholesale business in Singapore and Hong Kong. “Malaysia is a very different market from Singapore,” Mercedes-Benz Asia Managing Director Peter Honegg tells the Singapore press. “There are laws restricting foreign ownership of companies to 30%. To be granted an exception, you need to manufacture and export.”

DC reportedly also aims to take over distribution in Taiwan and South Korea and is close to a similar deal in Thailand.