The global economic recession has officially slowed Fiat's Big Love-style partnerships, as the Italian automaker's deal with Chery to produce models for the Chinese market has been put on hold. In August 2007, the two companies agreed on a 50/50 joint venture to produce 175,000 vehicles per year beginning in 2009. Chery spokesman Jin Yibo said that vehicle production "won't happen this year" and no date has been given for Fiat and Chery to begin building vehicles for China.
While global auto sales have taken a huge hit, the Chinese market has proven more resilient. The land of the Great Wall actually sold more cars and trucks in January and February than the United States. Given the upbeat car market in China, delaying the joint venture may sound a little strange. Fiat could be delaying the partnership to concentrate on its potential partnership with Chrysler, which would bring the Italian Automaker back into the (usually) lucrative US market.
[Source: Wall St. Journal]