A 12-year relationship between Jeep and its state-owned Chinese partner has ended, with each side blaming the other for the relationship break-up.
US car giant Jeep has claimed it experienced “political interference” in China during its 12-year joint venture with state-owned manufacturer Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC).
News agency Bloomberg has reported that Carlos Tavares, the CEO of Jeep’s parent company Stellantis, said the GAC Group “did not do what it was supposed to do” when Stellantis made a deal to increase its stake in the joint venture from 50 to 75 per cent in January 2022.
“We have been seeing over the last few years more and more political interference in the world of business in China,” Bloomberg reported Mr Tavares as saying.
“We don’t want to be a victim of cross-sanctions, as has been the case for other companies in other regions of the world recently.”
GAC Group claims failures of the joint venture are not its fault, and said Stellantis had “failed to achieve success, which is the result of a lack of respect for customers in the Chinese automobile market.”
“[The joint venture] has not been able to establish a mutually trustworthy operating mechanism adapted to the highly competitive environment in China, in order to turn the adverse situation of continuous losses in recent years,” said GAC Group, according to Bloomberg.
Stellantis conceded the joint venture had been losing money, with the manufacturer recording a loss of approximately $US297 million ($AU435 million) to buy itself out of the failed joint venture.
Until January 2022, foreign car manufacturers were compelled by the Chinese government to sign-up to 50:50 joint ventures with local companies to assemble and sell vehicles domestically.
Jeep’s parent company Stellantis and China GAC operated under a 50:50 partnership since their joint venture was established in March 2010.
Another Stellantis brand, Fiat, also manufactured vehicles for the Chinese market through GAC-Stellantis, selling the Viaggio sedan and Ottimo hatchback between 2012 and 2017.
Following the relationship breakdown, Stellantis brand Jeep will remain in the Chinese market, announcing it will import its line-up of hybrid vehicles in the coming years through the existing dealer network.
Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.