Beijing Auto’s Acquisition Push Abroad to Begin in Europe

Beijing Automotive Group Co., which manufactures vehicles with Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Co. in China, started a unit to spearhead acquisitions abroad, starting with Europe.

“We will do everything in our power to explore overseas markets,” Beijing Auto Chairman Xu Heyi said June 22 in Beijing. “Establishment of this unit puts us at a new historical threshold.”

The carmaker plans to have 2.5 billion yuan ($408 million) of profit from abroad with a vehicle-sales target of 400,000 units by 2020. Newly established BAIC International Development Co. will be in charge of overseas acquisitions and investment as well as boosting international vehicle and parts sales, according to Dong Haiyang, president of the unit.

BAIC International is seeking targets in Europe, and investment banks have found three medium-size automakers with “good brand image,” Dong said at a press conference. “We want to acquire such mid-sized brands in Europe while the economy is sluggish, so we can use their facilities as a production base to expand there.”

State-owned Beijing Auto, the maker of the Senova sedan, joins SAIC Motor Corp. and Great Wall Motor Co. in seeking new markets as competition intensifies at home.

Beijing Auto is seeking an initial public offering in Hong Kong as early as this year to help expand vehicle sales more than 70 percent by 2015 from a target of 2.1 million units this year, Chairman Xu said in March.

The Beijing-based carmaker has also said it plans to make “world-class” vehicles by 2025 and hired Ferrari designer Leonardo Fioravanti to improve its brand appeal. The company’s Senova was developed using technology bought from Saab Automobile AB in 2009.

— With assistance by Tian Ying

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