Fiat, Chrysler, and Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group) signed an agreement to expand their manufacturing efforts for passenger cars in China. Fiat, which already has a presence in China, will keep expanding its portfolio, and Chrysler will start building Jeeps in China (for Chinese market only) in the next couple of years. Mike Manley, Fiat’s chief operating officer for the Asia Pacific region and president of the Jeep brand, stood on the sidelines of the GAC Group’s presentation (its first ever at the North America International Auto Show) but stayed still until it was time to take a picture and never piped up.
During the talk, the new agreement seemed less important than GAC Group’s want for “globalization.” Three vehicles were on display: the Trumpchi 4WD Hybrid, the Trumpchi GS5 BEV, and the E-Jet concept. The first is a mid-size sedan, the second is a crossover with an electric powertrain, and the last is a swoopy sedan sitting on a compact platform. AC Propulsion, based out of San Dimas, California, jointly engineered the electric powertrain in the GS5, but there was no mention of when (or if) we’ll see any of the models in the states. It’s safe to say, though, that if the Chinese automaker seriously pursues its goal of globalization, America will be on the export list.