Dodge Nitro Forum
The Dodge Hornet Concept pictured above could resemble what the Chery-built Chrysler could look like, some think. If you could buy something like this for $10K I would think it would be a "Big Deal" !
Article below is from the Toledo Ohio Blade Newspaper, home of all Nitros.
Even though DaimlerChrysler AG insists that Toledo-built Jeeps will not be among the small vehicles its new Chinese partner will build, industry experts disagree.
Analysts said it is quite possibly Chery Automobile Co. could make a Jeep Wrangler version for the Chinese market, much as another automaker there produces Jeep Grand Cherokees and other Chrysler vehicles.
"That would actually be kind of a logical thing to do," said David Cole, an analyst with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.
"If I were Chery that would be quite a plum. One of the reason to do a small car deal would be if you could get access to some of Chrysler's other products, like the Wrangler. It would really not surprise me if those discussion were taking place. It would be very logical."
But Chrysler spokesman Jason Vines told The Blade, "That's just crazy speculation. … There's only one place in the world building the quintessential Jeep, and everyone knows where [Toledo] that is."
The Chrysler-Chery deal was announced Friday, with the news that the Chinese automaker would develop a small car for sale in the United States and elsewhere. It called for Chery to make a car priced under $10,000, a model Chrysler has said it can't produce domestically.
Chrysler showed off a small-car concept last year that some think the Chery vehicle could resemble, the Dodge Hornet, a hatchback smaller than the Dodge Caliber, Chrylser's smallest vehicle. The deal is still subject to approval of the Chinese government and the supervisory board of DaimlerChrysler, Chrysler's corporate parent.
United Auto Workers officials representing workers at Chrysler's Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The announcement of the deal with Chery led to speculation that it might make other Chrysler vehicles as well.
But two auto analysts said it wasn't far-fetched to think Chery might produce a Jeep model.
Toledo factories make most of the Wranglers and Libertys worldwide, although the Liberty is called a Cherokee overseas.
Greg Gardner, an analyst with Harbour Consulting, said a cheaper, small car is the primary objective of the deal, "but I wouldn't rule out the eventual possibility that Chery and Chrysler might work out some derivative of the Wrangler."
Chery is an established Chinese automaker without sport-utility-vehicle expertise, but it could ask Chrysler for help, he said.
Still, he noted, Chrysler could use its Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd. partner to build a Wrangler in China, if it wanted.
There are no plans, said Chrysler's Mr. Vines, for that plant to produce other Jeep vehicles.
- Jon Chavez