Chery-Quantum to Start Building Cars in Changshu, Jiangsu in 2012

The joint venture of Chery Auto and Quantum LLC, an American subsidiary of Israel Corp., will soon break ground on its plant in Changshu, Jiangsu, which has a designed annual capacity of 150,000 units. The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection is set to ratify the project’s environmental evaluation report, which had been open for public review from August 31 to September 4.

Assuming construction will begin later this year, the plant is to start operation in 2012.

When formed in 2007, the joint venture had a registered capital of $500 million, 55% of which from Chery and 45% from Quantum, and planned S950 million investment–mainly on a vehicle plant in Wuhu, Anhui, where Chery is based. Implementation, however, was delayed because of the global financial crisis and environmental concerns over the proposed plant. In July 2009, Israel Corp. announced that Quantum had achieved equal stake with Chery in the joint venture, and neither side would increase investment.

But in July this year, the joint venture decided to spend an additional amount of $668 million between 2011 and 2013, with each side paying half, and to change the location of the proposed plant from Wuhu, Anhui to Changshu, Jiangsu.

In February this year, the company applied for a vehicle trademark–"QOROS," which many think will be the brand of the upcoming Chery-Quantum cars. Yet, so far it is unclear what exactly will roll out of the Changshu plant.

In 2009, the company showcased a small electric car, S18 (Riich M1 EV), but this year reports say it is working on an electric version of the Tiggo 5 compact SUV (T21), which will carry lithium-ion batteries from A123 Systems. Meanwhile, Chery has teamed up with Better Place to develop battery swap stations in China. As both A123 Systems and Better Place are partly owned by Israel Corp., it is possible that the Chery-Quantum venture will evolve into an enterprise offering an extensive range of EV products and services.