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The Truth Emerges? Chrysler Reportedly Set to Build Small Car With Great Wall

October 7, 2008

Back in July Chrysler when quietly dropped word that it would begin sharing distribution and purchasing parts with the Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Company, many didn't know what to make of the deal. Was this a move to sell Chryslers through Great Wall dealerships, or was parent company Cerberus planning to sell part of the American brand off? Well now it seems that the true intent of that agreement is finally coming to light, as rumor is that Chrysler and Great Wall are currently collaborating on an all-new, A-segment car to be sold around the globe as a Chrysler.

Recently Great Wall has been in the news because of a legal dispute with Fiat over its Peri people mover, which the Italian automaker says is a copy of the popular Panda. Chinese and Italian courts have ruled differently on the matter, and Great Wall is fighting to overturn a potential fine that would be levied if it tries to sell the Peri in Europe. Now, however, it appears that the company has been tapped to take over a position thought to be held by fellow Chinese automaker Chery, and will design a small car for the world market. As Chrysler's previous Chinese partner, Chery was expected to produce several small cars for the Pentastar, including a version of the Dodge Hornet concept originally seen at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show. But so far the joint-venture has been fraught with problems, and despite the existence of prototypes for a vehicle based on Chery's A1 minicar called the Dodge Breeze, Chrysler has admitted that vehicles built by the Chinese company won't be sold in the U.S.

Searching for a new, fuel-efficient small car it can quickly get into dealerships, Chrysler then made an agreement with Nissan that will provide a Chrysler-branded subcompact for North American and European markets by 2011, and the Japanese company might even provide Auburn Hills with a new midsize sedan, too. Yet, according to some reports, the source for a future Chrysler-branded, even smaller A-segment car will now be Great Wall, and Chrysler designers are currently involved in the vehicle's development to make sure it sports a sufficiently unique design. Great Wall is better known for producing SUVs and pickups, and will reportedly begin selling off-roaders in Europe by 2010.

While neither side has confirmed the deal, supposedly the new Chrysler A-segment car will be built at Great Wall's Baoding manufacturing plant and exported from China for sale worldwide. So far there is no word on what this would mean for Chrysler's current agreement with Chery, or its plan to sell cars built by Nissan. However one Great Wall supplier says Chrysler is greatly impressed with the Chinese company's careful management and cost control techniques, which could help make the minicar profitable even when sold at a low price, a problem domestic automakers continue to struggle with when marketing fuel-efficient vehicles in the U.S.


LINK:The Truth Emerges? Chrysler Reportedly Set to Build Small Car With Great Wall | Automotive News Blog - Wide Open Throttle
Source: Gasgoo
 
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