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Chery teams up with Gotion to build NEV production base in Argentina

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

China-based Chery Automobile announced a two-phase investment plan in Argentina last week. The carmaker aims to build a NEV production base with a local battery supply from the Chinese company Gotion High-tech. Annual production capacity is expected to reach 100,000 cars by 2030.

The Argentine Embassy to China recently revealed the plan on its social channels. According to the embassy's post, Chery made the investment official on February 15 at an online meeting with ambassador Sabino Vaca Narvaja and Jose Ignacio De Mendiguren, secretary of industry and productive development for Argentina.

With the South American country's abundant lithium reserve, Chery plans to invest US$400 million in building a car plant and produce 100,000 vehicles by 2030. The company said the project can create 6000 new jobs locally. It also operates a factory in Brazil.

According to the Argentine Embassy, Gotion will supply lithium batteries to the Chery NEVs made in Argentina. The China-based battery maker announced a strategic partnership with Argentine mining company JEMSE last year to build a battery plant in Jujuy. The locally-made batteries will also be exported to Germany, India, the US, Spain and Vietnam, according to Gotion.

The embassy said statistics from Argentina's automotive industry showed hybrid and battery EV sales in the country were 7848 units, a 33% increase from 2021. However, BEVs only accounted for 3.3% of the sales.

Narvaja said China holds the world's strongest competence in new energy development. The investment from Chery and Gotion is essential to Argentina, which boasts its lithium resources.

He added that a delegation from Chery will visit Argentina this week to finalize the details of its upcoming project in the country. In addition, the ambassador said Sergio Massa, Argentine minister of economy, will meet representatives from the automotive industry this week to discuss the establishment of two auto manufacturers, one of which will receive investment from Chery.

Founded in 1997, Chery has accelerated EV adoption like his competitors. According to the carmaker's press release in early February, its annual unit sales surpassed one million for the first time in 2022. NEV sales reached a record of 230,000 cars.

Chery said it will add more models to its NEV portfolio in 2023, with one SUV and three facelifts. It also plans to launch a new brand, iCar, before Auto Shanghai in April. The company said iCar will focus on the BEV and extended-range EV markets.