SHANGHAI – GAC Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Co. (GFC), the existing joint venture between Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA), announced the establishment of a new sales company on July 16.
The new sales company, GAC Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Sales Co., Ltd. headquartered in Shanghai, signals forward progress in overall joint venture, indicating the further deepening of the partnership between GAC and FCA.
GFC appoints FCA’s Daphne Zheng as CEO and GAC’s Chen Daohong as executive vice president of the new sales company.
GFC will retain responsibility for the localized manufacture of Jeep, Chrysler and Fiat brand vehicles. The new sales company will handle sales management, marketing, product planning and aftersales for all models in the Jeep, Chrysler and Fiat brand portfolios.
The JV expects to begin local production of the Jeep Cherokee by the end of 2015 and two additional new Jeep brand models by the end of 2016. Jeep brand in China will offer a full SUV product portfolio, from B to E segment, forming the most complete SUV lineup in the country by 2018.
GFC expects to locally produce eight competitive vehicles in China by 2018. In addition to local Jeep production, FCA and GAC also have agreed to localize a Chrysler brand product, expanding the current passenger car lineup for the Fiat and Chrysler brands in China.
GFC’s Guangzhou manufacturing plant will be put into operation in the first half of 2016. Combined capacity of manufacturing facilities in Changsha and Guangzhou is expected to reach 700,000 units by 2018.
All existing Jeep, Chrysler and Fiat brand dealers will have an opportunity, based on excellent performance, to play a role in the new sales network. In addition, the JV will expand its China footprint by looking for new dealer partners.
“The formation of the GAC Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Sales Co. marks a new milestone in the development of the GAC-FCA partnership and a new extension of the depth and breadth of the relationship between the two groups,” said GAC president Zeng Qinghong. “The localized production of Jeep, the No. 1 SUV brand in the world, will enable us to provide high-quality products as well as satisfied experiences and services for the Chinese consumers.”
“This move represents a major landmark in the successful progress of our brand, our business and our partnership here in China,” said Mike Manley, president and CEO of Jeep Brand, FCA Global. “Jeep sales in China saw an increase of nearly 50 percent in 2014, and China has now grown into the number one Jeep market outside of the United States. Local production of Jeep vehicles will improve our competitive position in the market and will allow us to bring the legendary Jeep capability and spirit to more customers in what is now the largest automotive market in the world.”