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Published: Wednesday, 10/7/2009

Chinese firm proposes to build autos in Mississippi


TUNICA, Miss. - A start-up car company run by a Chinese businessman unveiled four prototype vehicles yesterday that it hopes to build at a proposed multibillion-dollar plant in northwestern Mississippi.

GreenTech Automotive Inc. said the $6.5 billion factory would cover 1,500 acres in Tunica County, south of Memphis. The company said it has an option to buy more land as needed.

State officials have met with the company's owner, Xiaolin "Charles" Wang, but they have not discussed whether the company will be receiving any incentives to start the project.

Mr. Wang said the plant eventually could have 4,500 employees and produce up to 250,000 fuel-efficient cars a year. Company attorney Bill Brabec said earlier that GreenTech eventually would build 1 million cars a year.

The company hopes to build affordable cars meeting lower emissions and fuel-consumption standards that President Obama's Administration wants automakers to meet by 2016.

The prototypes were built in China. They include a midsize four-door hybrid designed to get 50 mpg, a zero-emissions electric car, a high-efficiency gasoline car designed to get 65 mpg, and a hybrid sports coupe designed to get 45 mpg.

Mr. Wang said Mississippi development authority officials brought him to the site last July. Former President Bill Clinton also has been active in the project, traveling to Hong Kong and introducing company representatives to heads of state at his recent global initiative, Mr. Wang said.

Mississippi is home to one automobile manufacturing plant, and another is planned but is on hold. .

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