Chrysler has announced its intention to build it’s minivan in China. Two weeks after starting his new role as President and CEO of the Chrysler Group, Tom LaSorda came to China to review the company’s plans here and to announce that it intends to license South East Motors, Inc. (SEM) to manufacture its minivan for the Chinese market, in the southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou.

“Chrysler invented the minivan segment more than twenty years ago and we have continued to refine its best-in-class features ever since,” said LaSorda. “It’s appropriate that we localize the world’s most popular minivan in the world’s most populated country, and we believe there is tremendous potential to continue to grow the Chrysler brands here.”

South East Motors, Inc. is a joint venture between Fujian Motor Industry Group (FJMG) and China Motor Corporation (CMC).

DaimlerChrysler has established a separate joint venture called DaimlerChrysler Vans (China) Ltd. (DCVC) with both FJMG and CMC to produce Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Viano Multi-Purpose Vehicles at a new facility, also in Fuzhou.

Production of Chrysler’s localized minivan will take place at SEM’s existing facility.

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“Licensing FJMG and CMC to produce Chrysler Group minivans is a natural extension of DaimlerChrysler’s existing partnership to build Mercedes-Benz MPV’s,” added LaSorda. “We appreciate the ongoing support of our partners and government officials in Fuzhou.”

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to build the Chrysler Group’s minivans at our plant in Fuzhou. This is a win-win venture among FJMG, CMC, the Fuzhou and Fujian governments,” said Y. Z. Ling, Chairman, SEM and FJMG.

“The new products bring Fuzhou to the forefront of high technology automotive manufacturing, support the people of Fujian through employment opportunities and put SEM on the map among world class manufacturers.”

Chrysler minivan production is expected to start by the end of 2006.