Fiat Chrysler targets 850,000 vehicle sales in China in 2018

Fiat Chrysler will build the Jeep Renegade in China, the company said Tuesday.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a bit player in Asia, plans to boost local production and sales significantly in China and India through 2018.

“We’re a tiny player in the largest market in the world,” said Asia chief Mike Manley, referring to China. “We have a lot of work to do.”

In 2018, the automaker wants to sell about 850,000 vehicles in China, versus 130,000 in 2013, he said at a presentation of the company's five-year plan on Tuesday in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The company markets the Jeep, Chrysler and Fiat brands in China, and will add Alfa Romeo by 2018.

The company will add production in China to drive growth. The company has already announced a joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Corp. that will start production in 2015. Manley said the plant will start with the Jeep Cherokee and later add the Jeep Renegade and a compact SUV.

In 2017, the company will begin exports of the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee to China. The Grand Wagoneer, an SUV with three rows of seats, will join them in 2018, according to the plan.

The company will export two Chrysler brand vehicles to China: the Town & Country minivan, called the Grand Voyager in China, starting in 2016; and the 300 in 2018.

The Fiat joint venture plant in China, which now produces two models, will assemble five models in 2018, the plan says.

In India, the company's sales dropped to just 10,000 units in 2013, when Fiat took charge of retail distribution from Tata.

The Jeep brand will be introduced in India in 2015, and Fiat will add more models, according to plans outlined Tuesday. The company expects sales of all its brands in India to total about 130,000 in 2018.

The company plans to build Grand Cherokee kits in India starting in 2015 and imports of the Wrangler will start in the same year.