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First new Chinese Cherokee

by David Zatz on

GAC has produced its first Jeep Cherokee in China.

The original XJ Cherokee was produced by Beijing Jeep, a joint venture of AMC and a Chinese company, decades ago; but Jeep production in China ceased as DaimlerChrysler’s German headquarters decided the plant should make Mercedes cars instead.

18-inch wheels with pad prints

Fiat Chrysler has finally replaced Beijing Jeep with GAC FCA in Changsha, China, to make Jeeps for the Chinese market. This avoids punitive taxes on imported cars.

China does not allow foreign companies to operate in the country except as up-to-half-owners of joint ventures, and ensures that many joint ventures are made by having stiff tariffs on imported goods. There are no reciprocal rules by the United States, which accorded China with “most favored nation” status (which means they are treated the same way as the nation with the best trade deal.)

Senior government officials and company leaders attended a ceremony in which the first Jeep rolled off the line. These included the Secretary of the CPC Hunan Provincial Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Provincial People’s Congress, the chairman of the GAC Group, and the head of Jeep.

The Cherokee sold in China has been “localized,” and is not exactly the same as the one sold in the United States (whose photo is used).


Jeep was the first American or European automaker to produce cars in China, over three decades ago.  Full production is expected to begin in November, with deliveries “before the end of the year.” The 2.4 liter gasoline version will be made first, followed by a 2.0 liter Fiat diesel version. The American 3.2 engine does not appear to be available. Prices range from RMB 200,000 to RMB 300,000.

Two more models, including the Renegade, are expected by the end of 2016, and dealer orders have already begun. Customers can order directly, online, via

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