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Small U.S. Firm Works to Import Cars from China

Amid the hype surrounding Chinese-made vehicles at this year's North American International Auto Show, one small group is vying to be the first to bring them to the U.S. 

China America Cooperative Automotive Inc., known as Chamco Auto, hopes to start North American sales of a compact pickup truck and a midsize sport-utility vehicle built by Hebei Zhongxing Automobile Co. by late 2007 or mid-2008. 

The starting prices will be about $13,250 for the pickup and $13,750 for the SUV, said Richard Kalika, executive vice president for sales and dealer development. 

The closely held company knows hurdles remain, including meeting U.S. emissions and safety standards. Several minor changes also are being made to appeal to U.S. buyers. Chamco and Zhongxing have the opportunity to own stakes in each other. 

Zhongxing also must give Chamco a priority on orders. Chamco said it will have a display at the National Automobile Dealers Association meeting next month in Las Vegas. So far, Chamco has 13 dealers who have "written in checks" to become partners, Chief Executive Veechwinni said. The goal is to start with 150 dealers in 60 major markets. Mr. Li expects initial annual sales volume to reach 75,000. 

Wall Street Journal