After many, many months of courting, DaimlerChrysler and China's Chery Automobile Co. are now officially holding hands. The Chrysler
Group CEO Tom LaSorda has signed a letter of intent with Chery to have the Chinese automaker
produce a global small car for the American wing of DaimlerChrysler. Of course, nothing will happen until the deal is first approved by DaimlerChrysler and then, more importantly, by the Chinese government. Chrysler's PR head Jason Vines told Automotive News, however, that once everyone signs off on the deal, manufacturing in China would begin quickly "in automotive terms." The most likely candidate for Chrysler's global small car is the Dodge
Hornet Concept (shown above) that debuted at the 2006 Geneva Show, though Chrysler hasn't officially decided what car it will have produced by Chery or even under which brand it will be sold.
While Chery and other Chinese automakers have been trying for years now to break into the U.S. market with their own line of cars, it appears that the first Chinese cars
to set rubber to road in the U.S. will be wearing a domestic badge. Some opponents of the deal might call this the worst kind of job outsourcing, but Chrysler will no doubt get a small car to sell sooner and much cheaper by working with Chery in China.
[Source: Automotive News]