STUTTGART, Germany: Wúhú (literally 'Weedy Lake') is a small city in China's Anhui province. It is seen - even within the People's Paradise - as the back of beyond. Despite which the products of Wúhú's Chery Automotive Company are set to invade Europe, courtesy of a distribution deal with Germany's DaimlerChrysler.

The two companies are currently in advanced discussions that could see the Chery compact auto, rebadged as Dodge, on sale in DC's European dealerships in the near future.

Earlier this month DaimlerChryslser ceo Dieter Zetsche floated the idea of a similar occidental makeover for Chery in the USA. He hastily retreated, however, after a snarling reaction from the Detroit auto unions.

But it seems that European unions are a tamer beast and success for Chery in Europe could lead to a foot in the door stateside.

Chery is owned by the local government of Wúhú, and produced around 188,000 vehicles in 2005. It was founded in 1997 to prop up the economy in the remote city.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff