It may have been the Fourth of July holiday in the United States, but Chrysler was busy in China moving forward with its deal to have Chinese auto manufacturer make small cars for Chrysler. The deal became official yesterday, with the contracts being signed in Beijing.
 
Chrysler chairman Tom LaSorda promptly announced that the Chery-built Chryslers would initially be sold in Latin America and Western Europe, with introduction into those markets occurring within a year. After that, the cars will be imported into the United States, arriving here no later than 2010. 
 
Chery is China’s largest automaker, though its sales of 350,000 last year don’t rank as particularly large when compared against auto manufacturers in Europe, Japan, and America. However, Chery has pursued a very international course of development, using engineers, designers, managers, from other countries as well as sourcing parts abroad. Consequently, its products have developed a far better reputation than those of other Chinese auto manufacturers.
 
The link to Chery is obviously intended by Chrysler to give it a connection with the exploding Chinese market, as well. LaSorda said yesterday that, “With or without us, they’re going to grow. So the question is, ‘Are you going to go with a winner?’” It is also clear that it sends a message to the UAW, whose contract with Chrysler must soon be renegotiated. The Chery-Chrysler deal can be repeated with other vehicle lines, exporting current UAW jobs elsewhere.
 
The Dodge Hornet, pictured here as a concept, is expected to be among the first Chery-built Chrysler vehicles. 

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