GAC begins Dodge-badged cross-shipping to Mexico
SHANGHAI — GAC Motor Co., the state-owned automaker that operates a joint venture with Stellantis, is set to begin shipping a crossover built at a plant in Hangzhou, eastern China, to Mexico, where the vehicle will be marketed under the Dodge brand.
GAC, as part of the deal with Stellantis, said the first batch of 770 crossovers will be exported starting this week.
The company plans to export nearly 4,000 crossovers to Mexico by the end of the year.
GAC has been eyeing the North American market for years. He had originally planned to enter the United States first. But he suspended the plan in 2018 over fears of escalating trade tensions between China and the United States.
It began researching the Mexican market in 2019 and then decided to enter the country by contract manufacturing vehicles for Stellantis, GAC said in the statement.
GAC did not identify the crossover to be distributed in Mexico under the Dodge badge.
It’s a rebadged version of the GS5 that GAC markets in China under the Trumpchi brand, according to market consultancy LMC Automotive.
The GS5 is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged direct injection petrol engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It complies with Chinese State 6 emission rules, which are equivalent to Euro 6 standards.
The front-drive five-seat crossover is 4,695mm long, 1,885mm wide and 1,726mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,710mm. It has a starting price of 126,800 yuan ($19,628) in China.
GAC said it plans to deepen and expand its ties with Stellantis, adding that it “will continue to explore the Mexican market as well as its surroundings”, without providing further details on future cooperation with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. and the newly merged PSA group.
In China, GAC’s 50-50 partnership with Stellantis assembles four Jeep models: the Grand Commander, Renegade, Compass and Cherokee.
Sales of the JV, after plunging for three consecutive years since 2018, fell 45% to 13,012 vehicles in the first eight months of 2021, according to data released by GAC.
Weak sales prompted GAC and Stellantis to close one of the two factories in the partnership. The factory in Guangzhou in southern China will be closed next year while a factory in Changsha in central China will remain open.
Stellantis will become the second global automaker to sell rebadged Chinese-made vehicles in Mexico, after General Motors.
SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. is a three-way partnership between GM and two Chinese automakers SAIC Motor Corp. and Wuling Motors Holdings. It produces and markets cars under the Baojun market entry brand and minibuses under the Wuling brand in China.
According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, 2,950 Baojun 510 compact crossovers are expected to arrive in Mexico by mid-October.
The crossover is the third SAIC-GM-Wuling product to be sold under the Chevrolet badge in Mexico, following the Baojun 530 compact crossover and the Wuling Hongguan V minibus, Xinhua reported this week.