Fiat Chrysler Looking to Muscle Into Chinese EV Market

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fiat chrysler looking to muscle into chinese ev market

Ram Rebels and Power Wagons are a tough fit for China’s cramped, heavily taxed new vehicle market, but “new energy” vehicles (electric cars) are not. With this in mind, Fiat Chrysler is aiming to put EVs in the hands of Chinese consumers through a potential joint venture.

Clearly seeing an avenue for growth — and a way to compensate for falling Jeep sales while challenging industry heavyweights like Volkswagen, GM, and Ford — FCA has entered talks with Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn, the automaker announced Friday.

In a statement, FCA said it is in discussion “with Hon Hai Precision Ind. Co., Ltd. (Foxconn) regarding the potential creation of an equal joint venture to develop and manufacture in China new generation battery electric vehicles and engage in the IoV (Internet of Vehicles) business.”

The potential pair-up, FCA said, would “bring together the capabilities of two established global leaders across the spectrum of automobile design, engineering and manufacturing and mobile software technology to focus on the growing battery electric vehicle market.”

The two parties are in the process of crafting a preliminary agreement.

Neither FCA nor its merger mate PSA Group are strangers to the Chinese market. FCA sells vehicles in the People’s Republic through its GAC Fiat Chrysler joint venture, while PSA offers vehicles through Dongfeng PSA. The country is seen as a ripe market for Jeep, but recent economic turmoil saw the off-road brand take a haircut; Jeep volume shrunk from over 200,000 vehicles in 2017 to just under 73,000 in 2019.

Thanks to excessive air pollution and a government with the ability to guide purchasing decisions with a heavy hand, China makes up roughly half of the world’s electric vehicle volume.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • RS RS on Jan 17, 2020

    "Thanks to excessive air pollution.." Don't think that is going away with more EV's. China will bring more Coal generating plants online to charge them. They need to do something other than trade tailpipes for smoke stacks. Not to mention the issues behind the curtain of EV construction - lithium mines, etc. Replacing fossil fuel vehicles with something that doesn't cause more/different problems is a huge challenge.

    • HotPotato HotPotato on Jan 18, 2020

      China does still spend money on coal plants. But they spend way more money on grid modernization and clean energy. They're headed the right direction on this issue, like most of the world these days.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 17, 2020

    I did not get it: who is the second "established global leader"?

  • BEPLA My own theory/question on the Mark VI:Had Lincoln used the longer sedan wheelbase on the coupe - by leaning the windshield back and pushing the dashboard & steering wheel rearward a bit - not built a sedan - and engineered the car for frameless side windows (those framed windows are clunky, look cheap, and add too many vertical lines in comparison to the previous Marks) - Would the VI have remained an attractive, aspirational object of desire?
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  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
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  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers.