Following a very long stint over plans to implement local production in China, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finally announced it would move to start Jeep model production in the country.
The company will move to make Jeeps locally because the Chinese market is the biggest outside the traditional US for the 4×4 oriented brand – also attempting to boost sales in a country where they still lag behind main rivals.
The automaker announced plans to expand its existing joint venture with China’s Guangzhou Automobile Group, which currently is in charge of local production for Fiat’s Viaggio model. The Jeep models would be part of the extended agreement, with FCA also considering whether to also introduce a Jeep model “uniquely designed for China.”
The Jeep production in China should start in the latter part of 2015, with Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne saying the new deal is the next step in the “expansion on a global scale of the Jeep brand.”
Besides the United States, China is the largest global market for Jeep, with the brand selling in 2013 almost 60,000 vehicles – and is key to securing a sustainable sales growth. According to Chrysler executives, they were in talks since the start of 2013 to build Jeep vehicles in China.