Fiat-Chrysler has started the production of Jeep Renegade in China, its second locally produced model after the Cherokee.
The Chinese auto market is the world’s most important one for all major automakers, as they are relying on the high sales volumes that come from this particular country. Fiat-Chrysler is also aiming to take advantage of the local demand, especially when it comes to SUVs. Therefore, building models in China is a crucial step in boosting sales, as the automaker will avoid import taxes to be more price-competitive. After the Fiat Chrysler unit began making its Cherokee model in China back in November, now Jeep have also started to produce the smaller Renegade there, a model build through a joint venture with Guangzhou Automotive Group.
“Today is an important step in our strategy to expand the Jeep brand’s global presence and, equally important, it represents a further strengthening of the joint enterprise with our respected and valuable partner here in China, the GAC Group,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. Renegade is put together at a new plant in Guangzhou, which has the capacity to build 160,000 vehicles a year.
The company also plans to bring to its Chinese production line a new mid-sized SUV at the end of the year and it expects from Jeep to double its sales in China this year from 89,000 in 2015, when it sold mostly imported vehicles.