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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Monday began production of the Jeep Renegade in China. The subcompact SUVs are intended for China and the Asia-Pacific market.

Production of the Renegade at the GAC FCA Guangzhou plant comes six months after the company started producing the Jeep Cherokee in China.

“Today is an important step in our strategy to expand the Jeep brand’s global presence and, equally important, it represents a further strengthening of the joint enterprise with our respected and valuable partner here in China, the GAC Group,” said Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement.

China is an important part of Jeep’s global expansion through 2018. Fiat Chrysler plans to produce 1.9 million Jeeps by 2018 at 10 plants in six countries: the U.S., Italy, China, Brazil, India and one other yet-to-be-announced country. Three years ago, only 798,000 rolled out of four plants in the United States.

China represents the largest Jeep market outside the U.S.

“The GAC FCA Guangzhou Plant enjoys extensive advantages in product, technology, and management,” said Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group Co. chairman Zhang Fangyou in a statement. “Without a doubt it will further accelerate the development of not only GAC Group, but also the whole automotive industry here in Guangdong Province, China.”

The Guangzhou facility is the third to produce the Renegade. Plants in Italy and Brazil also build the vehicle.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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