Beijing Auto investigating three European automakers for possible takeover

Beijing Automotive Group has said it plans to sell 400,000 units in markets outside of China by 2020. In order to accomplish this goal, the company intends to acquire a "medium-sized" European automaker with a good brand image for a takeover. Right now, Bloomberg indicates that BAIC has identified three unnamed potential candidates, and says that it wants to move while the European economy is still sluggish. Buying an existing automaker makes sense, as doing so will allow BAIC to hit the ground running with existing manufacturing and dealer networks.

This isn't the first time Beijing Auto has turned out of country. The company's Senova sedan ( shown above with spokesman Nicolas Cage) is built on technology purchased from Saab back in 2009, and at one point, BAIC was rumored to be interested in buying the now-dead Swedish brand back before it declared bankruptcy. Beijing Auto currently builds vehicles with Daimler and Hyundai in China.

The Chinese automaker aims to sell 2.1 million units this year, but wants to expand production by 70 percent by 2015. BAIC also wants to build a "world-class" vehicle by 2025. The company recently hired Ferrari designer Leonardo Fioravanti to help craft its image. Analysts predict the company will make an initial public offering in Hong Kong this year.

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