Hot on the heels of Nanjing Auto's merger with SAIC, Fiat has announced it has pulled out of the automotive joint venture it had embarked upon with Nanjing.

The Sino-Italian operation had been a money-losing enterprise for years. Fiat says that Nanjing failed to live up to its commitments to the joint venture after the Chinese auto group took over MG Rover, and that the divorce will enable the Italian automaker to re-strategize its business in China. Fiat is expected to partner instead with Chery Automobiles, which just announced another joint venture with Israel Corp. Fiat and Chery are in the process of setting up another joint venture to produce 175,000 cars annually starting in 2009, and leading to the introduction of Fiat Group division Alfa Romeo to the Chinese market.

The separation affects only the cooperation between Fiat and Nanjing on the production of passenger cars, and doesn't have any bearing on Fiat's truck-building division, Iveco, which cooperates with Nanjing to build vans and with Nanjing's new parent company SAIC on trucks, the two relationships will continue unhindered.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]