Chrysler to finalize planning for Jeep plant in Russia image

Chrysler Group wants to complete plans in the first half of 2012 to manufacture Jeep SUVs in Russia, according to Jeep’s brand chief.

“Finalizing the solution on how to build Jeep in Russia is exactly where we are now,” Jeep’s chief Mike Manley said in an interview at the Detroit auto show. He added Chrysler is considering production partnerships in Russia. Russia’s second-biggest automaker OAO Sollers ended its agreement with Fiat last year.

Chrysler is pushing with its Russia plans as it wants to boost Jeep sales outside North America. Jeep deliveries outside its home continent rose 41 percent to about 105,000 units in 2011, according to Chrysler spokesman Todd Goyer. Jeep has big plans for China as well, with a local plant expected by 2013-2014. Production of a new Jeep SUV will start at Fiat’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy in 2013.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported in December that Fiat may build a plant in St. Petersburg, under an agreement to be signed in the first quarter of 2012. Fiat is also in the process of building its first China factory in a joint-venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group. The carmaker will start selling its first sedan in China in the second half of this year.