Mike Manley, the chief executive officer of Jeep, wished to negotiate a deal in the next several weeks that will bring Jeep production to China. Manley traveled to the country on Wednesday to strike a deal with China-based Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd., which currently has a joint venture with Fiat.
In an interview at the Frankfurt car show, Manley commented that Fiat has a "very strong partner" in China and thus, he will be negotiating various options for them. He further stated that if Jeep is localized, one will be seeing multiples of what the company currently sells.
The CEO is also in-charge with marketing the Fiat Group’s brands in Asia, according to Autonewschina. Currently, the Compass, Patriot, Wrangler, and the Grand Cherokee are imported and sold in China.
Manley further disclosed that the Wrangler, Compass and Patriot would be the ones for production in China, as would the SUV under development that is smaller than the Patriot and Compass. According to Manley, one has to produce in order to grow in China and the import duties are "pretty high" when bringing vehicles in.
He added that the company's vehicles "really play" in the luxury market in China, stating that the market is "just too big an opportunity" to not take advantage of on a local manufacturing basis.
Once a deal is negotiated, the CEO mentioned that the next issue is to gain approval of several government agencies in China. Manley commented that if they find the right partner and obtained the necessary approvals, local Jeep production would come 18 to 24 months after.