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SHANGHAI -- Staff at Chinese car maker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. refused comment Monday on a report that the company might bid for assets of Chrysler LLC.

The state-run newspaper China Business News, citing an unnamed Beijing Auto executive, said the Chinese automaker wanted to acquire Chrysler assets using a similar approach to that taken by Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corp.'s when it bought defunct automaker MG Rover Group.

The aim, China Business News said, was to acquire production facilities and technology to build up Beijing Auto's own brand vehicles. The Beijing city government might also provide support for such a deal, it said.

But staff at Beijing Auto's headquarters in Beijing refused comment Monday.
"Oh, I know what you are calling for, but it is not convenient to answer that question," said Jiang Wei, a staffer in the company's publicity department.

Another staffer said she had not heard of such talk.

Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler's majority owner is private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. The company lost $8 billion last year and is seeking billions more in government help in addition to the $4 billion it has already received.

Like other Chinese automakers, Beijing Auto is keen to build up a globally competitive brand name. Its chairman, Xu Heyi, has expressed interest in fortifying the company through acquisitions and mergers.

In 1984, Beijing Auto was the local partner in China's first automaking joint venture, with American Motor Corp., Beijing Jeep Corp.

After two year's operation, the venture was bailed out by the Chinese government because almost all its sales were in Chinese currency, which was not convertible at the time, and it lacked the foreign exchange to import needed parts.

Chrysler became Beijing Auto's partner when it bought out AMC in 1987. Later, DaimlerChrysler AG launched a factory making Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler sedans. But Chrysler withdrew from the venture after it was acquired by Cerberus in 2007, leaving Daimler as the foreign partner.

Beijing Auto is also a partner with Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co.
 

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That would suck... If they do what they always do (I don't think so given the historic and well built name of Chrysler brands) that means they would use Chrysler plants to manufacture chinese brand cars... that would be silly to do on the US market, specially if you have the possibility to sell Chrysler branded cars...

On the other hand, if they don't do it, then it would mean that you would have to buy chinese owned Chrysler branded cars, in which case, they could build crap under a historic brand, or they run Chrysler as Cerberus is runing it now, that is independently (but with severe adjustments).

I hope things don't get even worse than they are right now.
 
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