Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chrysler keeps new Chinese partner "confidential"

Though it is troubled by the financial crisis, U.S. auto giant Chrysler LLC has not stopped looking for new partners in China since its dropped out of Daimler AG's joint venture (BBDC) with Beijing Auto. However, Chrysler keeps its potential new Chinese partner(s) "highly confidential" for the moment, said today citing Chrylser's China sales unit.

Chrysler has proceeded with production of the Chrysler 300C and Sebring in Beijing Auto, and Chrysler's some Dodge-brand models will be made in Southeast Motor, a Chinese partner of Mitsubishi Motors. Chrysler's Jeep-brand Compass, Grand Cherokee, and Commander have been sold in China as imported cars. Since it withdrew from BBDC a few months ago, Chrysler has talked with several Chinese automakers, including Chery Auto, for the partnership.

However, Chrysler LLC has not decided yet on which local automaker to team up with in China, the world's second largest auto market. Recently the U.S. auto company announced that its deal with Chery Auto has been put on hold until the two sides sort out their individual financial futures. And Chery has said that its talks and discussions with Chrysler are still going according to plan.

Great Wall Motor is developing an A-class car along with Chrysler. In mid-August, Great Wall revealed that the company's cooperation with Chrysler was making progress. Since then, Chrysler has sent dozens of technicians to assist Great Wall Motor in developing the new car model. The latter's former designs have been given up or totally changed.

Sooner or later, Chrysler will form its joint venture in China for its expansion in this fast-growing market. The company has been recruiting auto professionals in the country for this purpose. Chrysler has planned an extensive product lineup for the Chinese buyers and more positive operation pattern for its recovery in the China market by 2010.

By George Gao

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