Will China car be a Chery or a Chrysler?
By ALYSHA WEBB | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
AutoWeek | Updated: 02/20/07, 8:37 am et
SHANGHAI -- Worried about quality, the Chrysler group is studying whether Chery Automobile Co. should build a Chrysler group car, not a Chery, for worldwide export, say industry sources.
In December, Chrysler said it had struck a deal for Chery to assemble a small car. At first, Chrysler was considering a Chery model, sources say. But now Chrysler is considering a production version of the Dodge Hornet, a concept car shown at the Geneva and Beijing auto shows in 2006.
The change may be due to quality concerns. Industry sources say Chrysler is worried about the quality of Chery's products.
Suppliers say Chery is known for emphasizing the low price of components, sometimes at the expense of quality.
Chery will be responsible for purchasing parts for the car, but Chrysler will work with Chery to select suppliers, says the head of a U.S. supplier's China operations that is supplying Chery.
Chery spokesman Wang Wei would not confirm that the Hornet was being considered.
Says Wang: "We will definitely cooperate with DaimlerChrysler, but the specifics of the agreement are still under discussion."
Chrysler spokesman Dave Elshoff says: "We don't even have a signed contract with Chery yet. Product-specific announcements are still out in the future. This is not focused on a single product."