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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles expands China joint venture with sales company, pursuing SUV sales

MILAN – The Chinese joint venture between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Guangzhou Automobile Group has announced plans to create a news sales company as it expands its SUV production in China.

GAC Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Thursday that the Jeep, Chrysler and Fiat dealer networks already in place will form the backbone of the new strategy, which will build on the carmaker’s expanding SUV and car portfolio.

The Chinese joint venture expects to offer a full SUV portfolio in China by 2018, launching local production of the Jeep Cherokee this year and two new Jeep models by next year.

Jeep brand chief Mike Manley said the local Jeep production would improve its competitive position in China, Jeep’s second market outside the United States, following a 50-per cent sales increase last year.