Stellantis is poised to roll out a new strategy for China, with the first major step being to take control of its struggling Jeep joint venture from a domestic partner, according to people familiar with the matter.
The automaker formed from the merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group is in advanced discussions with state-owned partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. on raising its stake in the 50-50 venture overseeing its Jeep operations in China, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions aren’t public.
The change could take effect as early as next year, when Chinese rules on JVs are set to be loosened, the people said. In the coming years, Stellantis plans to promote brands including Jeep and DS in the world’s biggest car market, and also push an electric Opel model, one of the people said.
Stellantis is trying to align its production with disappointing levels of demand in China, outlining in a statement last week a plan to integrate Jeep import operations into the JV and centralize production in Changsha. One of the people said the venture’s second plant in Guangdong would be closed.
Representatives for Stellantis and GAC declined to comment on plans for China beyond the statement.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has for months been promising investors a plan to improve the carmaker’s dismal performance in China. Out of the 3.6 million vehicles the company sold worldwide in the first half, roughly 50,000 were delivered in China. Its market share in the country slipped to 0.5 percent compared with double-digit share in all other regions outside Asia.