National Business Digest

Report: DaimlerChryslerto make vans in China
BEIJING -- China has approved creation of a joint venture involving DaimlerChrysler and two other automakers to manufacture Mercedes-Benz vans in China, state news media said Thursday.
DaimlerChrysler, along with the Fujian Auto Industry Group and Taiwan's China Motor, have invested 262 million and are aiming for an annual production of 40,000 vehicles, the Shanghai Securities News said.
It did not give any details on where the factory will be located but said it would be completed in 2008.
Fujian Auto will have a 50 percent stake in the operation, while DaimlerChrysler will have 33.78 percent and China Motor will have 16.22 percent, the newspaper said.
Boeing sets orders record
CHICAGO -- Boeing said Thursday it snared a record 1,044 commercial airplane orders last year, positioning it to formally regain the lead from Airbus in the all-important sales category within days for the first time since 2000.
Continuing strong demand for its upcoming 787 Dreamliner helped Boeing surpass the previous year's total of 1,002 net orders, when Airbus had a late-year surge to top it with 1,111. Gross orders -- which do not take account of cancellations and conversions -- came to 1,050.
Rival Airbus has since been losing market share and trailed its Chicago-based rival by a wide margin with 687 firm orders reported as of Nov. 30. Barring an unlikely flood of orders in December, it will drop to second place in orders when it announces 2006 figures Jan. 17.
Chrysler: Sales increaseoutside United States
DETROIT -- DaimlerChrysler Chrysler Group said Thursday that sales in non-U.S. markets increased 6.6 percent in 2006 on strong sales of new vehicles such as the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass.
The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based arm of the German-American automaker said it sold 555,924 vehicles outside of the U.S. last year. Sales rose 15 percent outside North America to nearly 207,000 units, while sales in Mexico grew by 3.3 percent and sales of DaimlerChrysler Canada rose 1.7 percent on five consecutive months of sales growth. Sales in the United States dropped 7 percent during 2006 to roughly 2.14 million units.
Associated Press

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