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SAIC subsidiary plans own-brand European car exports from next year

SAIC subsidiary Shanghai Motor Manufacturing, will export vehicles to Europe under its own brand next year, some of them incorporating the designs of MG Rover cars, the FT has reported.

SAIC Motor has announced a plan to produce 120,000 of its own vehicles and 170,000 engine sets per year initially, with capacity expected to reach 300,000 vehicles by 2010. It aims to launch more than 30 models by 2010 and expects its passenger cars to sell between 65,000 Chinese renminbi (£4,658) - 300,000 renminbi (£21,500).

"Europe appeared to be the most likely export market for now but future sales to South America were also being considered," company representatives said.

SAIC has yet to settle a dispute with its smaller rival Nanjing Automobile Group, the buyer of MG Rover assets and the MG brand, over the two firms’ respective patent rights to MG Rover technology. Nanjing is reportedly to begin production of the MG ZT saloon in China next year, while SAIC, won Chinese government permission to start building the Rover 75 saloon later this year.

SAIC officials say they are still unsure what exact assets and rights Nanjing Auto acquired last year, according to the FT.

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