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Chrysler Close to Completing China Jeep Manufacturing Deal

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/9/2014 Edward A. Sanchez

Fiat and Chrysler have been working for a long time on inking a deal to build Jeeps locally in China, but approval was reportedly delayed by Chinese officials' concerns about the different corporate structures between Chrysler and Fiat before the two automakers Fiat, Chrysler Reorganizing, Unveil New Logo and 2013 Earnings - Motor Trend" target="_blank">officially merged operations on January 1. Automotive News reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company has been hard at work over the last 60 days to finalize an agreement with local partner Guangzhou Automobile Group to build Jeeps for the local Chinese market.

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Chrysler has made no secret that one of the pivotal brands in its global growth strategy is Jeep. Traditionally, the majority of Jeep models have been made in the U.S. and exported abroad. But many rapidly-growing car markets such as China still have highly punitive policies toward imported cars, essentially forcing foreign manufacturers to partner with local affiliates to build models for local sale. Fiat Chrysler and Guangzhou Auto are planning on building a $771 million factory in Guangzhou in southern China with a production capacity of 60,000 units per year.

Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley said both the Cherokee and the recently-introduced Renegade compact crossover are leading candidates to be built in Guangzhou for the Chinese market. Although Manley was optimistic that the deal would be eventually approved, he warned that after a lot of experience doing business in China, he has learned to be patient in waiting for formal approval.

Source: Automotive News

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