Dodge-badged small car from China appears imminent

Word out of Detroit today has Chrysler almost ready to sign and seal a deal with Chinese automaker Chery Automobile. We just talked about this a few days ago, but it looks like it's actually going to happen any time now. DaimlerChrysler had previously told us that it really needed a partner if it were going to succeed at the low-margin end of the lineup, where Chery can certainly help with one of its small car platforms. The most likely vehicle coming out of this partnership would be the Dodge Hornet concept in production form. Dodge wants to be more competitive globally and Chery has the ability to produce the subcompacts and superminis Dodge would need to be a real player. Chery has also wanted to establish themselves in the U.S. to help build some credibility for the company, so this might be good for both parties.

Caught somewhere in the middle of this negotiation is none other than Malcolm Bricklin who has been working on his own Chery import deal. Bricklin should be well-known to Autoblog readers. His plans to make the Chery the Yugo Kia of this century, have been met with cynicism, especially after all of the delays and scaling back the project has encountered. But his dreams of bringing low-cost, decent quality cars would live on even if the Chrysler deal goes through. In fact, this would most likely help Bricklin a lot, as Chery would all of a sudden have a little more street cred.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req]

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