Manufacturing News

Fiat Chrysler, GAC exploring deeper China ties

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Guangzhou Automobile Group are in talks to deepen their partnership in China as GAC prepares to sell vehicles in the United States under the Trumpchi brand.

Models, production and sales are at the core of the discussions with Fiat Chrysler, said GAC President Feng Xingya. "Shareholders of both companies are exploring ways to expand the scope of cooperation," he said.

Fiat Chrysler declined to comment.

The joint venture between Fiat Chrysler and GAC was established in 2010 as a 50-50 partnership between the two companies.

The venture sells three locally produced Jeep models -- the Cherokee, Renegade and Compass -- and also imports the Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler. Last year, the venture’s China sales tripled to 146,439.

As China’s auto market expands, foreign automakers are bolstering their local partnerships and bracing for the phase-in of EV quotas, which take effect in 2019.

Trumpchi export
"Making our company a global player is a very important breakthrough for us in our five-year plan" through 2020, Feng said in an interview with Bloomberg. "The U.S. market is very important to Guangzhou Automobile," and achieving success there is "symbolically significant" for the company's global ambitions, he added.

GAC plans to start exporting its Trumpchi crossovers to the United States in 2019.

The company will launch production in the United States if American consumers welcome Trumpchi models imported from China, Feng said.

"We are very satisfied with our cooperation with FCA," the executive said. "We have yet to reach a conclusion on how to cooperate with FCA when we begin manufacturing in the U.S., and we have also not begun discussions with other Chinese automakers on whether to make cars together in the United States.”

GAC also operates local joint ventures with Toyota and Honda.

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