Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group will build Jeep models in the middle kingdom, according to a revised joint venture signed in Michigan today with Fiat S.p.A. GAC already manufactures the Fiat Viaggio – aka Dodge Dart – and distributes the imported Fiat 500, Freemont minivan and Bravo in China.
The agreement was signed at Chrysler Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan by Zeng Qinghong, General Manager of GAC Group, and Mike Manley, Chief Operating Officer for Asia Pacific region, Fiat S.p.A., and President and CEO of Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group.
GAC will expand its operations in steps to allow the manufacture of more models from the Fiat. After Fiat, the next brand to be “localized” by the GAC Fiat JV (translation: built in China to escape punitive Communist government tariffs that protect the local industry) will be Chrysler Group’s Jeep brand.
“Following the successful launch of the first product of our JV, the Fiat Viaggio launched last September, this agreement is another milestone of our partnership with Fiat and Chrysler Group. It definitely creates the basis for our JV to reach very ambitious objectives in Chinese market,” said Zeng Qinghong, General Manager of GAC Group.
GAC Fiat Automobiles Co., Ltd. (GAC Fiat), incorporated on 9 March 2010, is jointly invested by Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC) and Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. (FGA) on a 50:50 basis with the initial investment of RMB 5 billion Yuan and authorized capital of 1.8 billion Yuan.
GAC Fiat is located in Changsha Economic & Technical Development Zone, covering an area of more than 700,000 square meters. It is mainly engaged in the research and development, manufacturing, sales and after-sales services of vehicle, engines and parts & components. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 140,000 vehicles in Phase I and an annual capacity of 250,000 – 300,000 vehicles in Phase II. Currently it is producing Fiat Viaggio and the 1.4T-jet engine. The plant provides direct and indirect employment to 3,000 people.