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Chrysler Seeks to Finish Planning for Jeep SUV Factory in Russia

Chrysler Group LLC aims to complete plans in the first half of this year to build Jeep sport-utility vehicles in Russia, the head of the brand said.

“Finalizing the solution on how to build Jeep” in Russia “is exactly where we are now,” Mike Manley, Jeep’s brand chief, said Jan. 10 in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He said Chrysler is looking at production partnerships in Russia. OAO Sollers, Russia’s second-biggest automaker, terminated its agreement with Chrysler’s majority owner Fiat SpA (F) last year.

The effort is part of Chrysler’s drive to boost Jeep sales outside North America. The brand’s deliveries in other parts of the world climbed 41 percent to about 105,000 in 2011, said Todd Goyer, a spokesman for Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler.

Jeep may build a vehicle in China as soon as 2013 or 2014, Manley said, and will start production of an SUV at Fiat’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, next year.

The news service RIA Novosti reported last month that Fiat may build a car manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, under an agreement to be signed in the first quarter, citing Alexei Chichkanov, who heads the city’s investment committee.

Fiat, which owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, is in the process of building its first China factory in a joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (2238) and will start selling its first sedan in the country in the second half of this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tommaso Ebhardt in Milan at tebhardt@bloomberg.net; Craig Trudell in Southfield, Michigan at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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