With an intent to learn, Chongqing Changan Automobile, China’s third largest domestic automaker, has opened a technical centre in the US to conduct chassis research and development for its brands in China, according to a news report.

The US$30 mil R&D centre, located in Detroit, will start off with 30 employees, though this number is expected to rise to around 200 over the next five years. The company has two other centres, a design one in Turin as well as a technical facility to develop powertrains, located in the UK.

Changan will work with US-based parts suppliers to develop suspension components, brakes, chassis and power steerings, and said it was the first step for the company to fix the weak link in its technology, which is with the chassis. The company stated that the centre is not meant to help the brand enter the US market.

While Changan has a three-way joint venture with Ford and Mazda, as well as a partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen, it is also spending heavily to upgrade its vehicle technology. Late last year, it said it would be pumping in more than US$600 mil to conduct R&D for its own brands, as well as develop small engines and expand its minivan production.