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July 24, 2007

China-designed light trucks to be "made in US"
Light trucks designed by ChangAn Automobile Group, China's third largest automaker, will be made in the United States, according to the Shanghai Securities Journal.

The journal reported July 23 that Tiger Truck LLC, a privately held US truck manufacturer headquartered in Dallas, Texas, plans to open an assembly plant in Poteau City, Oklahoma to produce the China-designed trucks. The company has announced the manufacturing agreements on its official website.

Chongqing ChangAn Kuayue Automobile Co Ltd one of ChangAn Group's subsidiary companies, is actually the one that works with Tiger Truck, according to sources from the department of publicity, ChangAn Group.

"ChangAn Kuayue is to carry out the agreement with Tiger Truck by ways of techniques and auto parts export," local magazine China Auto Review quoted manager of the marketing department of ChangAn Kuayue who is surnamed Zhuo.

"The plant will start with ChangAn's 1021 series of light trucks equipped either with gasoline or diesel engines." Zhuo said.

The Poteau plant will assemble two series of trucks, including a full-size pickup truck named Champ and a medium duty truck named Leopard.

Initially, 20% of the products, all of which were certified by USEnvironmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, will be put on the US market, while the rest will be sold to the North American market, according to Tiger Truck's official site.

The 112,000-square-foot plant is located in the Poteau Industrial Park. Tiger Truck plans to hire 100 employees this year to have the single-shift capacity of producing 7,500 vehicles per year in 2008. The company expects the number of employees to approach 300 by the end of 2009.

Tiger Truck has been the exclusive importer and distributor of ChangAn products since 1999. The manufacturing agreement is seen as a way to fill the need of low speed vehicles, as well as to solve the problem of unbalanced trade between the US and China and create more job opportunities in the US.

"Tiger is particularly pleased to counter that trend by bringing jobs and business to the U.S. Our long-standing partnership with ChangAn has been exemplary and has led to this historic first," Mike Ward, founder and CEO of Tiger Truck, was quoted as saying. Xinhua

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