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DaimlerChrysler to start selling Dodge cars in China

DaimlerChrysler AG, the world's fifth-largest carmaker, will start selling Dodge cars in China as it aims to expand in the world's fastest-growing auto market

Chrysler will introduce its first Dodge model, three Jeep models and one Chrysler vehicle in China later this year, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. DaimlerChrysler and its partners are spending €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in China on increasing capacity in a bid to win market share. Sales of the company's Mercedes-Benz sedans trail behind Audi and BMW, which have both built cars locally for at least two years. The company plans to start producing Chrysler Sebring sedans at its joint venture in Beijing the end of this year, according to Trevor Hale, a DaimlerChrysler spokesman in China. Mercedes-Benz car sales increased 64% to 2,700 units in January from a year earlier, the company said today. Chrysler Group's imported car sales increased 81% to 1,477 units from the previous year. DaimlerChrysler opened a new plant with an annual capacity of 105,000 vehicles in Beijing in September. The factory will make as many as 25,000 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and C-Class sedans a year, as well as Chrysler and Mitsubishi Motor Corp. vehicles. DaimlerChrysler sold 32% more Mercedes cars and 26% more imported Chrysler cars last year than in 2005. (Bloomberg)