Are Fiat Looking For a New Partner for Jeep?
Published June 10, 2013
At the last Shanghai Auto Show it seemed almost as if it was a done deal between GAC and Fiat that Jeep would produce its new Cherokee at the brand new GAC-Fiat facility in Changsha that is currently just producing the Fiat Viaggio, a China only sedan. Reports from Reuters indicate that Chinese production of Jeep is anything but confirmed with Fiats Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne saying: In China we have a good partner, and we have the possibility to use a second one to develop Jeep.
In recent months there have been a number of rumors regarding Jeeps Chinese production with both Panyu in Guangdong Province and Hunan (the current Viaggio facility) being rumored as location areas. Fiat was aiming to put Jeeps into production in China in early 2014 with the goal of producing 100,000 in the first year alone before ramping up production with additional models.
Marchionne went onto comment that although GAC-Fiat have not signed a final agreement regarding Jeep production, other manufacturers have expressed interest in producing the Jeep range. Chinese media are quoting an anonymous GAC executive who commented on Fiats previous agreement with GAC that mentioned putting other brands within Fiat into production in China, the previous framework agreement could be considered an engagement, we promise to work together towards a marriage but we havent yet actually gotten married so we could go either way. The same anonymous source went on to say that the time frame for Jeep being put into production at GAC-Fiat is already quite small, so finding another partner to produce Jeep will be both time consuming and also may run into government obstacles.