MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Italian automaker Fiat Group Automobiles
announced a joint venture Tuesday with Chery Automobiles of China to
produce Alfa Romeo and Fiat brand cars for the Chinese market.
The deal comes just a day after Fiat announced it will buy
engines from Chery as the Turin-based automaker expands its ties in
a country viewed both as a lucrative and fast-growing market as well
as a low-cost base for production.
The deals appear to mark a strategy shift for Fiat, after Fiat
SpA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said another Chinese partner,
Nanjing Automobile, had fallen short on its pledged investment.
Fiat and Chery said they intend to produce 175,000 Fiat and Alfa
Romeo brand autos beginning in 2009. That's on top of the deal for
Chery to supply 100,000 1.6- and 1.8 -litre engines a year for use
in cars manufactured by Fiat in China and abroad. No financial terms
``The introduction of Alfa Romeo in China represents an
historical step, launching one of the most attractive brands of the
European car industry into the world's fastest-growing automotive
market,'' Marchionne said in a statement.
He said the move is part of a greater strategy to expand Alfa
Fiat SpA, of which Fiat Group Autos is a subsidiary, currently
has six joint ventures and nine wholly foreign owned enterprises in
China that manufacture and distribute cars, commercial vehicles,
agricultural and construction equipment and auto components, the
Chery, based in the eastern city of Wuhu, currently sells 10
models under its names and is one of China's largest car exporters.