FCA seeks partner to keep building Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200 – Autoblog (blog)
“There are discussions going on now,” said Marchionne, according to Motor Trend. “I think we will find a solution. We continue to talk. It’s both a technical solution and an economic one. We need to find a solution that works economically.”
Contracting vehicles to be manufactured offsite is more common practice among European automakers than it is with American ones. Chrysler’s former patron Mercedes, for example, has the G-Class built for it by Magna Steyr in Austria, the A-Class by Valmet in Finland, and the R-Class by AM General in Indiana (even though it’s no longer sold in the US). This arrangement would, on the surface at least, appear more similar to the deal that Toyota struck with Mazda to build the Scion iA, drawing on the contractor’s expertise and capacity to build the small sedan on the client company’s behalf. Only rather than basing a new model on one of the partner’s existing ones, this deal would ostensibly continue building FCA models on FCA platforms using FCA components.
We’ll have to wait to find out with whom FCA strikes up the manufacturing deal, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Marchionne turn to a partner he already knows. The company is, after all, at the center of an intricate web of joint ventures and manufacturing contracts. The Fiat 124 Spider, for example, is built by Mazda. The Fiat Sedici that preceded the 500X was built by Suzuki. Models like the Dodge Stealth and Eagle Talon were built in Illinois at the Diamond-Star Motors joint venture before Mitsubishi took it over altogether. And Dodge continued selling the Mercedes-made Sprinter long after DaimlerChrysler split. The Ram ProMaster, though built by FCA in Mexico for the North American market, stems from a partnership in France with PSA Peugeot Citroën. And the ProMaster City is built in a joint-venture plant in Turkey, from which it’s also sold by GM as an Opel in Europe and a Vauxhall in the UK. With all those deals coming and going, after all, what would one more add to the complexity?