It’s quickly becoming apparent that good ol’ America won’t be the only country staking claim to manufacturing Jeeps. Fiat Chrysler has already said the new subcompact Renegade will be built in Melfi, Italy, making it the first place outside the U.S. to build the iconic Jeep nameplate. Now it appears a deal that will allow China to build Jeeps is almost done as well, according to Reuters.
The Jeeps in China would be manufactured at a plant Fiat Chrysler operates with its Chinese joint-venture partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.
Industry insiders suggest the first China-produced Jeep will be the Cherokee, which is built on the same platform as the Fiat Viaggio. Production is expected to start by mid-2015, according to Jeep officials.
The move is part of a Fiat Chrysler strategy to capture more of the growing market for small SUVs, which is expected to reach annual global sales of 3 million by 2020.
Still, I can only imagine the kind of comments this one is going to stir up among die-hard Jeep enthusiasts.