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Fiat looks East

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Fiat looks East

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Looking to developing markets to make up for slumping sales in Europe Fiat has confirmed plans to build cars in China.

In a partnership with the Guangzhou Automobile Group it will set up factory in the Guandong region to make 140,000 cars a year. The move is part of Fiat’s push to become a global carmaker which includes taking a 20 percent stake in the bankrupt US manufacturer Chrysler. It would then expand that to just over a third and finally to a majority ownership in a few years, as and when Chrysler emerges from bankruptcy. It wants to put Chrysler together with General Motors European operations, Opel in Germany and Vauxhall in Britain. Fiat’s chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, has been meeting with officials in Germany to lay out his plans and present its Opel plan on Wednesday the deadline set by the German government. At the same time, the other potential bidder, Austrian-Canadian car parts maker Magna, will present its proposal. Italian and German unions have demonstrated worried that a merger will mean job losses. But Italy’s industry minister said on Monday that Marchionne does not foresee closing Fiat plants in Italy.