Fiat to build Alfa Romeo vehicles in China image

Fiat Auto SpA will make Alfa Romeo brand vehicles in China in a joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group, Zeng Qinghong, the president of the Chinese company said today.

The joint venture, which will be called Guangqi Fiat, will start production in July. “Besides the Fiat brand, after talks between the two shareholders, we will introduce the Alfa Romeo brand to the venture company,” Qinghong was quoted as saying by Automotive News. The executive didn’t say when the first cars will go on sale, as the two companies are still discussing the timetable.

The initial production capacity of the joint venture will be of 140,000 units and the company will be eventually developed into a multi-brand and multi-products manufacturer, the executive added. Chrysler Group, which is 53.5 percent-owned by Fiat, said earlier this year that it was exploring the possibility of building more vehicles in China and could build cars and trucks there through the Guangqi Fiat joint venture.

Alfa Romeo is the latest high-end automobile brand from Italy to enter the crowded luxury segment in China. German competitors are expanding their Chinese lineups, with Audi planning to build locally the Q5 SUV and Mercedes-Benz aiming to assembly the new A-Class and B-Class models, as well as the GLK SUV, in its Beijing facility next year.