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China's Guangzhou Auto, now a Chinese partner of Fiat Group, has signed a deal with the Italian automaker's newly acquired Chrysler Group to jointly produce Jeep-brand SUVs in central Chinese city of Changsha, Time Weekly reported.

The Jeep is Chrysler's renowned SUV brand. The Jeep Compass will be the first model to be made in the Changsha plant of the new Guangzhou-Fiat joint venture. The venture will start building the plant later this year and may start production and sale of Fiat and Chrysler vehicles by the second half of 2011.

Chrysler dropped out of Daimler AG's Chinese venture with Beijing Auto in late 2008, ending its nearly two decades of partnership with the Chinese automaker. Earlier this year, Fiat Group acquired the troubled U.S. auto giant Chrysler and meanwhile signed a JV deal with China's Guangzhou Auto, bringing the two automakers together.

Since Chrysler withdrew from Beijing Benz-Daimler Chrysler (BBDC) last year, the Chrysler production line in Beijing (for Chrysler 300C and Sebring models) has been revamped and will be used for producing Mercedes-Benz C-Class and all-new E-Class sedans as well as Beijing Auto's own brand "Beijing" sedans.

Chrysler has the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands. The Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot and others have been well received in global markets. The three brands merged their sales network in China in mid-2008.

In recent years, Chrysler has imported many Jeep models to China, such as the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Commander, Wrangler Sahara and Rubicon.



 

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No deal signed for making Jeeps in China.

August 25, 2009
U.S. auto giant Chrysler Group has not signed a deal yet with Fiat's Chinese partner Guangzhou Auto to produce Jeeps in China, a Chrysler spokesman said today, in response to the media report of such an agreement, Reuters said.

"There's a lot of interest in the Chinese market, but up to now there's been no deal of this kind signed," the spokesman said.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that Chrysler had signed the deal for Jeeps, quoting Chinese publication Time Weekly. Chinese media said on August 20 that the Jeep Compass will be the first model to be made in the Changsha plant of the new Guangzhou-Fiat joint venture.

Earlier this year, Fiat Group acquired a 20% controlling stake in the troubled U.S. auto giant Chrysler and meanwhile signed a JV deal with China's Guangzhou Auto, bringing the two automakers together.

Chrysler dropped out of Daimler AG's Chinese venture with Beijing Auto in late 2008, ending its nearly two decades of partnership with the Chinese automaker.

In recent years, Chrysler has imported many Jeep models to China, such as the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Commander, Wrangler Sahara and Rubicon.
The Beijing Morning Post today reported that Chrysler and Guangzhou are not planning to create a new joint venture in the Chinese market place, and that Chrysler plans to rely on the import method to continue sales in China.

Chrysler has been in partnership with Beijing Auto Works since their buyout of AMC; which first started the first Chinese-Foreign automotive joint venture over 30 years ago with the production of the Jeep Cherokee in Beijing. Since then Chrysler has put the 300C and Chrysler Sebring into production with Beijing Auto, and also the Dodge Caravan albeit with Fujian Auto in Southern China.

Although Chrysler has been relying on imports in a difficult year for automotive sales, they have seen a sales increase of 17% for the Jeep Compass, Jeep’s entry level model. It was expected that Fiat would introduce Chrysler to Guangzhou Automotive which would lead to a JV producing the Jeep range in China, although it has since been denied, there could be some leeway in the future for a Guangzhou-Chrysler tie up.
sources: gasgoo and CCT
 
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