BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese automaker GAC is exporting Chinese-made sport utility vehicles to Mexico, as part of its first massive sales in North America after years of planning to enter the key market. However, the cars are under the Dodge brand.
The “Dodge Journey” SUVs are built on the basis of GAC’s vehicle design and manufactured at its own factory in Hangzhou. Stellantis will sell them through its dealer network in Mexico, according to a statement.
GAC has a joint venture with Stellantis, which struggles to sell Jeep-branded vehicles in China, the world’s largest auto market, and recently decided to shut down one of its two factories.
It is not uncommon for global automakers to sell vehicles under different brands in different regions, but they tend to do so with their own models rather than those of their partners.
GAC, one of the few Chinese state automakers aiming to develop their own brand globally, has announced plans to sell 4,000 such vehicles in Mexico by the end of this year.
Like many Chinese companies, including Great Wall Motor, GAC has long aimed to sell vehicles in the United States, but the plan was moving slowly due to the Trump administration’s restriction rules.
“GAC will continue to strengthen and expand its cooperation with Stellantis (…) and will continue to explore the Mexican market and shine in the surrounding regions to lay the foundations for a new culture of the North American region”, a- he declared. It now sells cars under its own brand in Asia, the Middle East and South America.
This is not the first time that GAC’s model has been sold through the sales channel of a global automaker. GAC electric cars were sold in GAC-Toyota Venture and GAC-Honda Venture showrooms in China from 2018.
In addition to the GAC model, an SUV, originally under the Baojun brand, developed by SGMW, a joint venture between General Motors Co and SAIC Motor, is sold in South America under the Chevrolet logo.
(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Sandra Maler)