Chrysler, Fiat and Guangzhou Automobile Group are close to reaching a deal regarding the Jeep production in China for the country’s market.
Il Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on Sunday, January 13th, that Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne might announce this deal at the 2013 North American International Auto Show today, January 14th. Chrysler will unveil an updated Jeep Grand Cherokee at the Detroit Auto Show and Fiat has been in talks with Guangzhou to manufacture Jeep models at a facility in China.
Guangzhou’s facility in China has an initial annual production capacity of 140,000 vehicles and can reach 500,000 vehicles annually. Fiat began production of its Viaggio compact car at this plant in June 2012. In November 2012, Jeep President and CEO Mike Manley said that an agreement should be reached during the first half of 2013.
“We should get a deal with our partner by the end of the first quarter or second quarter,” Manley said in November. “We want to build them as soon as possible — it is one of our biggest priorities.”
In 2012 Jeep sold a record 701,626 vehicles globally, surpassing the previous record of 675,494 units set in 1999. During the last presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney accused Chrysler of planning to transfer Jeep production to China. Chrysler not only denied those allegations, but also added a third shift of 1,100 workers at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit to increase production of the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee.