DaimlerChrysler to sell Chinese-Built Cars in North America
AUBURN HILLS, MI – DaimlerChrysler has confirmed plans to sell Chinese-built cars in the United States after signing a letter of intent with China's Chery Automobile Co. Under the preliminary agreement and contingent upon Supervisory Board approval, Chery is expected to produce small vehicles for the Chrysler Group that will go on sale in North America, and possibly Western Europe and other markets, within a couple of years.
“They have the capability, and with our engineering and design help, we feel we can form quite a partnership,” Chrysler President and CEO Tom LaSorda told The Detroit News in an interview.
Chery is a state-owned carmaker based in China's eastern Anhui province. “Every other automaker is importing B-segment cars into the U.S. market, except Chrysler Group,” LaSorda said. “We've got to get into play here.”
While the segment only accounts for about 3 percent of U.S. sales, analysts say it is important for automakers to have an entry-level car to attract young buyers. The Chrysler Group has shown concept subcompacts, such as the Dodge Hornet, which is smaller than the Caliber, but does not have a car of that size on the market.