After the presentation of Fiat Viaggio in Beijing Auto Show 2012, the Group is getting ready to enter the Chinese market with some of its brands. The Viaggio will be the, by the moment, the only product to be produced locally, but more products from Fiat brand as well as Dodge and Chrysler will soon join Jeep in world’s largest market. Fiat will be initially present with the C-segment sedan, and will import both, the 500 and Freemont from Mexico. The small one will be offered with some specific changes while the large MPV will be offered with the 173hp 2.4 engine. It is also expected the return of Chrysler with its big sedan, the 300C imported from Canada. After being produced in China during Daimlers era, this sedan will go back to China with its facelift and much better interiors to compete with of Germans in D-segment in large version configurations. Its launch will take place in June 26th and its price should be 500.000 yuans (US$79.000). Dodge is also getting ready. Some spy shots reveiled by the site CarNewsChina.com showed its Journey (is the Dodge version as the logo can be seen in the steering wheel). It means that China will be, as it is Brazil, another market to have both models available, Fiat Freemont and Dodge Journey. Nevertheless, it is expected the Journey to be more expensive as it will have a better engine of 283hp 3.6 V6. Its price is not expected to be far from Freemont which starts at $250.000 yuans (US$39.000). All of these models will join the only brand of the group that has not interrupted its presence in China, Jeep.
Jeep models are available in China in 120 dealers. They are all imported from North America and it makes them really expensive SUVs. No matter its representation in the country has changed a lot during the last 30 years (its owners were always changing) the brand still has a good reputation among Chinese. Last year they sold 19.013 units, up 63% compared to 2010. Is a small number compared to competition but it can be seen as a good starting point for future sales with local production. In fact Fiat-Chrysler’s plan include the start of production in 2014. In the meantime, Jeeps will continue to be well recognized, and its sales will rise without reaching the big numbers local production means. It is because imported cars are highly taxed by Chinese authorities and it makes Jeep products really expensive: the Grand Cherokee starts at $576.000 yuans (US$91.000). All of that means that Fiat has a lot of potential but they need to start local production as soon as possible if they want a respectable place in this important car market.