The Chrysler brand will re-enter the Chinese market (after having left it in 2009) with the new 300C large sedan. At the sidelines of the auto show, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that it was in 2009 that the last Chrysler cars were offered in China. On this same year, Chrysler was rescued from bankruptcy by Fiat.
Marchionne said that Chrysler has already started earning in China with its jeep brand and that the Chrysler brand will make its entry to the market in June. In addition, Chrysler hopes to add to Jeep’s strength in China. Local production is one way to accomplish this. Marchionne didn’t say at what plant and on what date the production for the Jeep models in China will begin.
In 2011, sales had grown 81% to over 22,000 units, making China the biggest export market for Jeep. It also makes it the third market overall behind the U.S. and Canada. He said that Alfa Romeo will also be launched in China. It had been announced that Alfa Romeo will be re-introduced in North America sometime in the late part of 2013. Fiat-Chrysler considers Jeep and Alfa to be its “truly global brands."
Fiat brought the Viaggio compact sedan at the Beijing show. This car is based on the Dodge Dart and will start production at a new facility in June together with Fiat's partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Fiat’s earlier joint ventures in China had failed but Marchionne remains confident that the Guangzhou venture would succeed.
He said that the company has had two jump starts and will now make a comeback from scratch. The difference is that it has the right partner and product now. When asked about the slowdown in the Chinese market, Marchionne said that he isn’t worried abut it at all and even thinks that the government made the right decision to slow down its growth.