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Scania Eyes Opportunity Behind Beijing's Green Olympics Drive

Scania, the world's leading heavy vehicle maker, eyes Beijing's green Olympics drive as an opportunity to pry open the Chinese market for its ethanol-powered buses, the company's top manager told Xinhua on Wednesday.

"I think Beijing will solve the problem of pollution. It has to do with rapid, very very rapid expansion of the city. If we can give a contribution to that, we are very happy to do that," Leif Ostling, president and chief executive of the Sweden-based company, said when asked about the company's plan to sell its ethanol-powered buses to China.

Currently, there is already one ethanol-powered bus produced by Scania in China, which is scheduled to make its debut show in the streets of Beijing as a field test during the first week of November, less than one year before the city hosts 2008 Olympic Games.

Ostling said he hopes their environment-friendly buses could catch up with the Olympic Games.

Due to the green Olympics drive, "the environmental quest is much more under focus by the authorities in China than it was justa couple of years ago," Ostling said, "I think it is part of our interest for the ethanol bus being tested in Beijing. We want to see what we can deliver."

Fredrik Morsing, director of Scania's alternative fuels, buses and coaches, said the company was in contact with the Beijing organizing committee for the Olympic Games, but he refused to say whether they have found potential customers.

"The Olympic Games would be a very good occasion for us to show the technology we could produce. That's one of the purposes why we want to bring a bus to Beijing," Morsing said.

As one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport uses and specialized in ethanol-powered vehicles, Scania has made cautious steps into the Chinese market, one of the most tempting place for foreign investment today. It established a global strategic partnership with China's Higer Bus Company in Suzhou, but not its own factory.

Ostling, who was in Brussels as the host for a high-level conference on sustainable transport, said at present they are simply making the test of the Chinese market, and if there is enough demand, they are ready to jump in.

"We don't have manufacturing presence in China. It's not on the agenda today. What we are doing now is that we are gradually building up market in various cities of China and also finding customers to our products," he said, "When we see prospects in the market, then we will definitely establish manufacturing operation in China."

Ostling said once they have their trucks and buses built in China, the company would like to set up a wholly owned subsidiary, instead of cooperation with local manufacturers.

"We want one hundred percent ownership. We want no joint venture," he said, "We always go for one hundred percent ownership. That's a policy of the company."

(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2007)

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