The Jeep Returns To China

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
the jeep returns to china

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.

Join the conversation
  • Syke Syke on May 17, 2010

    Are they going to actually produce the Compass in China, or was the picture an automatic knee-jerk reaction to show Chrysler's worst car and insinuate that that's what's going over there?

    • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on May 17, 2010

      If you go to the trouble of following the link to the source, you will see that the Compass will be the first Jeep to be produced. Can't help it. Have never driven a Compass, have no opinion, good or bad. Just reporting the facts.

  • Stingray Stingray on May 17, 2010

    Honestly I don't see the bashing against this particular model. I went to a Jeep dealership to see them when it was launched here (for a short time) 2 years ago and it looked ok for me. The polished 17" wheels make it look very nice. And for my requirements (wife, baby and me), it has the perfect size (not bigger than an XJ or 5dr Grand Vitara). I don't like the combo CVT+AWD sold here. I would have preferred Manual+AWD. Bertel, any idea on the projected volumes?

    • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on May 17, 2010

      It says that "Fiat plans to produce and sell 300,000 vehicles, including Chrysler brands, in China by 2014." That's such a non-information, I left it out. Use with discretion. As for messing up the Jeep market in China: As there is none, there is not much to mess up.The Jeep Cherokee used to be ubiquitous in China, but fell out of favor.

  • LDMAN1 LDMAN1 on May 17, 2010

    Fiat has such a poor record in China that I am actually worried that they will also mess the Jeep business in that market.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on May 17, 2010

    I was not aware that the Cherokee fell out of favor. I still have a video I show my World History students that documents a "race" some Chinese academics staged between smoke seen from the signal towers of the Great Wall, a man on horseback, and a guy in a Cherokee. When the group on one signal tower saw the smoke from the adjacent signal tower they were to light their fires and send the signal down to the next tower. The man in the Jeep and the man on horseback had the same message and were racing down the wall. Smoke beat Jeep and the Jeep barely beat the horse. I don't really see a Compass doing well in that race but I don't know the Chinese market. Is there a market for "soft-roaders" in China?