|DaimlerChrysler and Beijing Automotive Industry Company annouce plans for the next 30 years|
DaimlerChrysler and Beijing Automotive Industry (Group) Company (BAIC) today announced details of a 30-year agreement for their joint venture company in China, Beijing Jeep Corporation. The agreement is pending final Government ratification.
The parties will continue their cooperation in China with an agreement that extends the joint venture until 2033. Beijing Jeep Corporation became China's first automotive joint venture when it was established in May 1983.
"This extension of the agreement between Chrysler Group and BAIC is a clear indication that we have a long-term commitment to this joint venture and to our presence in China and the region," said Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer. "The introduction of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the two new models in the pipeline, are clear evidence that BJC will be a competitive player in the new automotive environment created by China's accession to the World Trade Organization."
Last September, Beijing Jeep started local production of the Jeep(R) Grand Cherokee, a vehicle that incorporates advanced four-wheel-drive technology. The Jeep Grand Cherokee allows the company to reach a previously untapped segment for high-end sport utility vehicles. During the next two years, BJC will also start production of two new models targeted for the Chinese market. Details of the two new vehicles will be announced later this year.
"We have enjoyed a very fruitful 19-year relationship," said An Qingheng, Chairman of BAIC/BJC. "Beijing Jeep was the automotive joint venture pioneer in China. Since 1983, we have introduced new production technologies and helped to launch the modern sport utility segment in China. We are confident that our partnership will continue to grow in the future."
Significant savings have been realized during the last six months through DaimlerChrysler's global alliance strategy, particularly in the development of tooling, stamping and engines for the future models. Modern production initiatives and closer cooperation with local suppliers will allow BJC to become more efficient while continuing to improve product quality. The company currently produces the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the BJC Cherokee, and the utility vehicle BJ2020.
"In an effort to increase sales and improve service, we also plan to strengthen the dealer network," said Thomas Hausch, Executive Director of International Sales and Marketing, Chrysler Group. He indicated that Chrysler Group is exploring, together with its global alliance partners, how to better leverage its sales and service presence in the market.
"This agreement and our active business initiatives are a crystal clear indication of DaimlerChrysler's strong and long-term commitment with China," said Eike Lippold, CEO of DaimlerChrysler China Limited (DCCL).
The agreement calls for DaimlerChrysler to hold 42.4% ownership stake at BJC while BAIC retains 57.6%