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Dodge Hornet is go

Wed, 04 Jul 2007

By Tim Pollard

Motor Industry

04 July 2007 12:30

The newly independent Chrysler Group has saved its deal with Chinese maker Chery - which means that the Dodge Hornet is a step closer to production.

Dodge needs a partner with which to develop new smaller cars, like the Hornet, as it's too cash-strapped to fund them solo. The deal signed last night means that the two car makers will 'work together to develop, manufacture and distribute Chery-made small and sub-compact cars in North America, Europe and other major automotive markets under the Chrsyler Group brands.'

No mention was made of the Hornet, but Chyrsler’s international director for sales and marketing, has previously told CAR Online that the firm would produce the butch supermini. And the deal opens the way for further cooperation on small cars.

The deal had been under threat after DaimlerChrysler walked away from its disastrous tie-up with the American car company. Chrysler was bought by Cerberus earlier this summer. Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge specialise in bigger cars - especially SUVs, people carriers and full-size US saloons - so the partnership will allow a quick fix to feed motorists' appetites for smaller cars.

They will all use Chery-developed small-car platforms. In return, the Chinese get access to western markets and - tarnished but still desirable - nameplates.

Chrysler boss Tom LaSorda said the co-operation would allow both companies to launch new cars 'more quickly, with less capital spending.' It's not the first time Chrysler has looked east. It formed Beijing Jeep Corp 25 years ago - claimed to be the first international joint venture in China.

By Tim Pollard