Mitsubishi to supply sedans to Fiat-Chrysler for Asian sales

Article by Christian A., on June 29, 2014

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will be supplying Attrage sedans to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, to be sold in a number of markets in Asia later this year under a to-be-announced agreement, according to a report by Nikkei. The Japanese paper said that Fiat Chrysler is bound to sell the sedans under the Chrysler brand name in China and other Asian markets.

Mitsubishi commenced producing the sedans at its Thailand site 2013. The carmakers are expected to announce the partnership next week.

The partnership is expected to Fiat push expansion in Asia by sourcing less costly, fuel-efficient cars from Mitsubishi, Nikkei said. While Fiat Chrysler has been in China for some time, it has yet to make name in the country where it only holds a market share of only 0.6 percent.

Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne unveiled in May a turnaround plan for the merged company, which intends to expand in China by building Jeeps and more Fiats locally.

On the other hand, Mitsubishi is aiming to hike its sales in Southeast Asia by nearly 50 percent. Southeast Asia currently accounts for a quarter of its global sales.

Based in Minato, Tokyo, Japan, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is one of the largest carmakers in Japan as well as in the world. Its automotive roots can be traced back to 1917, when the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. introduced the Mitsubishi Model A, which was considered as the first series-production vehicle in Japan.

In 1934, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was formed following a merger between Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Aircraft Co. On April 22, 1970, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with focus on the auto industry. Mitsubishi Motors’s logo of three red diamonds is also used by over 40 companies within the Mitsubishi keiretsu.

In April 2009, Chrysler LLC filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and disclosed an alliance with Fiat. In May 2009, a bankruptcy judge approved a proposed government restructuring plan and sale of Chrysler's assets. A new company -- Chrysler Group LLC -- purchased most of the assets of Chrysler LLC on June 10, 2009, allowing the carmaker to emerge from bankruptcy. Back then, Fiat owned 20 percent of the US carmaker.

On January 21, 2014, Fiat acquired the remaining shares of Chrysler it doesn’t own from a UAW retiree healthcare trust called Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA)for $3.65 billion. On January 29, 2014, Fiat announced a reorganization that would result to a merger between the US carmaker and the Italian auto group into a new holding company -- Fiat Chrysler.

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