Chrysler closed a deal with Guangzhou Automobile to manufacture Jeeps in China, part of its plan to compete with its rivals in the world’s largest auto market.
According to Jeep CEO Mike Manley the opportunity for Chrysler to manufacture Jeeps in China is the only way for the automaker to reach its potential in the Asian country. Although Chrysler will begin producing Jeeps in China, the company will continue to manufacture these vehicles in the US too.
“I think we have a lot of potential in China,” said Mike Manley. “For us to make real headway we have to localize our vehicles there.”
Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Jeep is a brand with global potential, especially after it set a new sales record in 2012 with more than 700,000 vehicles sold, an increase of 19% from 2011. Increasing sales of the Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Maserati brands would help the automaker make up for the losses in Europe.
Currently Fiat and Chrysler are way behind other overseas automakers in China, with GM and VW selling each 2.8 million vehicles in the country in 2012, and both companies accounting for 29% of total vehicle sales in China, while Fiat, Chrysler and Jeep sold only 60,000 units.