Just two weeks after starting his new role as President and CEO of the Chrysler Group, Tom LaSorda came to China to review the Company's plans here and to announce that it intends to license South East Motors, Inc. (SEM) to manufacture its minivan for the Chinese market, in the southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou.
"Chrysler invented the minivan segment more than twenty years ago and we have continued to refine its best-in-class features ever since," said LaSorda. "It's appropriate that we localize the world's most popular minivan in the world's most populated country, and we believe there is tremendous potential to continue to grow the Chrysler brands here."
South East Motors, Inc. is a joint venture between Fujian Motor Industry Group (FJMG) and China Motor Corporation (CMC). DaimlerChrysler has established a separate joint venture called DaimlerChrysler Vans (China) Ltd. (DCVC) with both FJMG and CMC to produce Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Viano Multi-Purpose Vehicles at a new facility, also in Fuzhou. Production of Chrysler's localized minivan will take place at SEM's existing facility.
"Licensing FJMG and CMC to produce Chrysler Group minivans is a natural extension of DaimlerChrysler's existing partnership to build Mercedes-Benz MPV's," added LaSorda. "We appreciate the ongoing support of our partners and government officials in Fuzhou."
"We are delighted to have this opportunity to build the Chrysler Group's minivans at our plant in Fuzhou. This is a win-win venture among FJMG, CMC, the Fuzhou and Fujian governments," said Y. Z. Ling, Chairman, SEM and FJMG. "The new products bring Fuzhou to the forefront of high technology automotive manufacturing, support the people of Fujian through employment opportunities and put SEM on the map among world class manufacturers."
Chrysler minivan production is expected to start by the end of 2006.
The Chrysler Group, which produces and markets Chrysler, Jeep(R) and Dodge brand vehicles, increased worldwide annual sales in August, marking its seventeenth consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. The company is undergoing its most ambitious product offensive, launching 25 new vehicles in three years. Its product lineup includes: the award winning Chrysler 300C, industry-leading Chrysler Voyager minivans with Stow 'n Go(TM) seating, and the venerable Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander and Jeep Wrangler, among others. In North America the Chrysler Group also sells Dodge branded vehicles, including the Dodge Charger, Dodge Ram Truck, and of course, the Dodge Viper, among others. Dodge vehicles will soon be available in Europe and additional international markets.
The Chrysler Group is a unit of DaimlerChrysler Group, one of the world's leading transportation services companies, which builds and markets passenger cars and commercial vehicles with the brands: Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, smart, Chrysler Jeep, Dodge, Freightliner, Setra, Sterling, Thomas Built and American LaFrance. DaimlerChrysler Financial Services is the third-largest automotive captive financial services provider in the world.
Fujian Motor Industry Group (FJMG) is a State Owned Enterprise of the Fujian Provincial Government in the People's Republic of China.
China Motor Corporation (CMC) is a publicly traded company of the Yulon Group of Companies headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. CMC, one of Taiwan's automotive market leaders, produces a full range of passenger cars, multi- purpose vehicles, light, medium and heavy duty trucks at its facilities in Yang Mei, and other locations in Taiwan. For 8 of the past 10 years, CMC was the number 1 manufacturer in Taiwan in market share and volume.