A good old friend is coming back to China: The Jeep. Guangzhou Automobile Group Co (GAC) is expected to produce Chrysler’s Jeep at its Changsha-based joint venture with Fiat, Gasgoo reports.
In July 2009, GAC signed an agreement with Fiat to establish a joint venture in Changsha, capital of south central Hunan province. The negotiations had predated the hectic happenings between Chrysler and Fiat of that time. The original plan was to make Fiat’s 1.4-liter Linea sedan when the plant comes on-line in 2011. Fiat’s prior joint venture with Nanjing Auto had been terminated in late 2007 after heavy losses.
With Chrysler part of Fiat, Chinese production of the Jeep can resume. While still at AMC, the Jeep had been the product of the first Chinese joint venture with a western auto maker. Production started in 1983, a year before Volkswagen started producing the Santana in a joint venture with SAIC in Shanghai. Chrysler had been homeless in China ever since they pulled out of Daimler’s joint venture with BAIC in early 2009. Attempts to import Jeeps and Chryslers to China were met with lukewarm response.
First Jeep to be produced (again) in China will be the Compass.