Peugeot Citroen announces new Malaysian venture

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French auto giant PSA Peugeot Citroen said on Monday it was stepping up its cooperation with Malaysia's Naza, signing an assembly and sales deal for a family saloon in southeast Asian countries.

Some 70,000 vehicles will be made, starting from second quarter 2011 at Naza's Gurun plant just north of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

"Assembling the vehicle in Malaysia means we can benefit from the customs agreements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) so as to export to other countries in the (grouping) ... as well as in the Pacific and in Africa," PSA said in a statement.

This is the third PSA accord with Naza. The first, for its 206 model, was agreed in 2006, followed in 2009 by a deal on the 207 successor model.

PSA, ranked second in Europe behind Germany's Volkswagen, reported last week that it sold 1.86 million vehicles in the six months to June, up 16.9 percent from a year earlier as it sought to build up overseas sales even faster.

ASEAN groups 10 countries in the region which aim to achieve a zero-tariff regime by 2015, a key ingredient for its ambitious plan to create a single market and production base by 2020.

© 2010 AFP

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