Marchionne predicts fast rise for Jeep production in China
MILAN (Reuters) -- Fiat and U.S. unit Chrysler expect to make at least 100,000 Jeeps in China soon after production starts in 2014 as they seek to catch up with rivals in the world's biggest car market.
Output could quickly double, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said today without giving a precise time frame. Chrysler, in which Fiat has a 58.5 percent stake, has agreed to make Jeeps in China with Guangzhou Automobile Group.
Fiat is trying to offset a slump in European sales by targeting fast-growing markets in Asia and Latin America. The Fiat and Chrysler lag far behind other foreign carmakers in China, where consumers bought 19.3 million vehicles last year.
"We expect production of around 100,000 Jeeps per year which is expandable to 200,000," Marchionne said on the sidelines of a conference, adding that production could start in 18 months.
General Motors and Volkswagen both sold more than 2.8 million cars in China last year, and together accounted for more than 29 percent of total vehicle sales in the country, according to consultancy IHS Global Insight.
Jeep, Chrysler and Fiat, by contrast, sold a little more than 60,000 cars in China in last year.
Since Fiat helped rescue Chrysler from bankruptcy in 2009, the U.S. No. 3 automaker has turned into the main profit driver for the combined group because of strong U.S. demand.
Asked about the outlook for the global car market this year, Marchionne said he did not expect any meaningful recovery in Europe, where demand for new cars fell to a 17-year low in 2012. "In North America, in Latin America and in China sales will rise," he added.Contact Automotive News