Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Chrysler dismisses alliance rumors

The Chrysler logo

DETROIT, Michigan (AFP) — Struggling US automaker Chrysler LLC dismissed rumors of new alliances on Monday but said there is room to grow existing partnerships.

"The Nissan rumored conversation is still not anything since there is no substance that exists at this point," Chrysler vice chairman Jim Press told reporters.

Press also waved off reports that Chrysler was in talks with Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra, saying: "We don't have any high level discussion like that underway."

However, he did not rule out the possibility of future alliances.

"We will continue to use the potential of affiliations to broaden our products line," Press said during a conference call with reporters, in which he reported that Chrysler sales outside of North America had increased to a record 238,215 units in 2007.

Chrysler is also looking to expand its relationship with Russia's Gorky Auto Workers, or GAZ, which signed a deal in 2006 to build vehicles with Chrysler tooling, officials said.

"It's clearly a big, big focus," said Michael Manley, Chrysler's executive vice president of international sales and business development. "GAZ is attractive to us on a number of fronts."

The automaker is still working out details of an agreement for China's Chery Motors to build a subcompact car that meets international safety and emission standards.

Chrysler had said in the past it hoped to have Chery-made vehicles on the road by 2010 but officials declined to say whether that timetable could still be met.

"There will be Dodge-branded, jointly-produced vehicles in our international markets. Latin America is a key focus for us," Manley said in response to reports that one of the first markets for the Chery-built vehicle would be Mexico.

Chrysler also has an agreement to build minivans for Volkswagen in the United States.

Manley noted that Chrysler's international sales outside North America accounted for nine percent of the company's sales in 2007.

Sales in Mexico and Canada, where Chrysler was second in overall sales, boosted the company's sales outside the United States to nearly 600,000 units.

No comments: