According to reports in the Chinese news media, Fiat and Chrysler are getting closer to announcing a final deal to produce Jeep SUVs in China in a joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group.
According to the Chinese Business News, the two parties will sign an agreement in the coming months after Fiat and Chrysler said in January that they had reached a “framework agreement” with Guangzhou to build the SUVs.
A final agreement is crucial for Chrysler because the automaker wants to produce Jeeps in what has become the world’s largest automotive market. It would give Jeep its first overseas production as Fiat and Chrysler work to give the brand a larger global presence.
Mike Manley, CEO of the Jeep brand and chief operating officer of the Asia Pacific region for Fiat and Chrysler said at the Shanghai Auto Show: “For us to continue the growth of the Jeep brand and therefore be successful because of that, you need to produce locally for the local market.”
The Chinese government must approve the deal before the partners can build a compact Jeep SUV by the end of 2014 and several more models in the next five to 10 years. Also, the Italian automaker already produces the Fiat Viaggio compact sedan at Changsha, China, in a joint venture with Guangzhou Auto.