Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) appeared set to buy a 49% stake in South Korea's Ssangyong Motors, reports said. The deal would be the first major overseas acquisition by a Chinese car company. SAIC is expected to pay US$522 million for the stake. The purchase will give China's biggest carmaker the capacity to expand into sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) for the world's fastest-growing car market. Ssangyong has been up for sale since 1999 when creditors took control of the debt-ridden firm following the collapse of parent Daewoo Group, which had accumulated US$80 billion in debts. SAIC has joint venture production deals with General Motors and Volkswagen in China, and is a shareholder in South Korea's third-largest carmaker, GM-Daewoo Auto & Technology.
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