Despite being one of the first American brands to set up shop in China, Jeep is having trouble meeting demand in the fast-growing SUV-crazed market. A combination of steep import tariffs and a lack of local production -- the last Chinese-made Jeep rolled off the line in 2006 -- restricted sales to just 19,013 units in the fast-growing and SUV-crazed market. By comparison, GM sells that many vehicles in just three days.
The restricted supply has driven prices to stratospheric levels. According to Bloomberg, a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee starts at a whopping $91,064, with the price for an SRT8 going up to an eye-watering $189,750. In the U.S., those prices are $27,920 and $56,220, respectively. Making things more difficult yet is Jeep's lacking dealer network. The brand has just 120 dealers in China, even though there are 1500 officially-authorized merchandise outlets in the country.
To rectify the situation, Jeep is looking to tie-up once with a local automaker, having lost its previous partner in the aftermath of its divorce from Daimer. The most logical choice is Guangzhou Automobile Group, which already ha a deal with corporate parent Fiat, but it would take roughly 18 months for production to begin after a deal is made due to China's regulatory approval process.