BEIJING (AP) — China's Chery said Wednesday it had produced its 1 millionth car, becoming the first domestic automaker to reach that mark.
Chery, China's biggest automaker, said in a statement that it took about six years to make its first 500,000 cars, and only a further 18 months to reach the 1 million mark. The 1 millionth car was an A3, a four-door hatchback that made its debut at last year's Beijing auto show.
China's small but ambitious automakers have been eager to expand. Chery, based in the eastern city of Wuhu, signed a deal earlier this year with Chrysler Group to make cars for export to the United States and other markets. It also has signed a deal with the Fiat Group to produce Fiat and Alfa Romeo models for sale in China.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Chery is currently able to produce 400,000 cars a year, and plans to open a new plant in October that will boost output by 300,000 cars a year.
China currently has 30 sedan manufacturers, nine of which produce more than 200,000 units a year.
China overtook Japan last year to become the world's No. 2 vehicle market after the United States, Xinhua said.
Chery had a 7.2 percent share in the domestic market last year, up from 6.7 percent the previous years.