As it strives to become a true global player, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Jeep brand hit a bump in a deal to locally produce cars in China, but now an executive is confident the automaker will have an agreement before April ends.
According to Mike Manley, the Jeep brand boss, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles should announce during the Beijing Motor Show or before the month ends a deal in regards to Jeep’s local production.
“It will be ideal if I can get the timing right for the Beijing show, but I’m not at the stage to say that definitely,” Manley said in an interview from the New York Auto Show. He added that if not ready for Beijing, the news would “come before the end of the month.”
FCA would start Jeep production at a plant where Fiat makes the Viaggio model, located in Changsha, capital of the Hunan province and operated with Chinese joint venture partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.
While the company has not yet disclosed which Jeep model would be the first to reach Chinese local production, it has repeatedly hinted at the Cherokee – introduced in the US a year ago – which analysts also consider a natural choice, being made on a platform shared by Fiat’s Viaggio. The manufacturing of the first Jeep should start in the third quarter of 2015, according to Manley.
After that, analysts tend to agree the next Jeep model produced in China would be the newly announced Renegade, a subcompact SUV that was globally premiered during this year’s Geneva motor show.