Jeep Coming back to China, Cherokee up First
Published April 24, 2013
The Cherokee is coming back to China almost 30 years after it first arrived on the Red Shores, according to Jeep President and Asia Pacific Region COO, Mike Manley the first Jeep to be made in China for the past 7 years will be produced at the Changsha facility where GAC Fiat have already established a facility with the capacity to produce 140,000 to 250,000 vehicles per year.
Currently the Changsha factory is producing just the China only Viaggio sedan and by the end of this year a Viaggio hatchback will be introduced. As a new brand in the Chinese market Fiats sales have been slower than expected due to a smaller dealership network, the introduction of the Viaggio hatchback will eventually boost the brands equity in consumer minds, but the introduction of a new Jeep Cherokee will really get consumers interested.
The new Cherokee was on show at this years Shanghai Auto Show as part of its Asia Premiere. The Cherokee is a deceptively handsome vehicle, when it first aired in the USA earlier this year it was a little marmite, but in the sheet metal it is a good looking vehicle. It will be interesting to see how the same design scheme transcribes on to other vehicles in the Jeep range will the Wrangler still be a Wrangler with the new urban face?
Engines for the Cherokee will likely be a 2.4L for the Chinese market, there isnt much of an appetite for V6 displacement in this segment in China, with much of the Chinese market leading towards 2.0T or 1.5T engines it would be interesting to learn if Fiat Chrysler are creating anything in this size.