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BMW Was #1 Auto Exporter – Again

Maker shipped over $4 billion in vehicles outside NAFTA region.

by on Feb.17, 2011

a sizable portion of the BMW X3 models produced in Spartanburg are earmarked for export.

While domestic automakers may be talking about increasing their automotive exports, BMW is practicing what it preaches.

The maker, which recently focused on its U.S. manufacturing base in a Super Bowl commercial, was once again the biggest exporter of automobiles to markets outside North America, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“BMW vehicles manufactured in South Carolina were a major contributor to the company’s success in 2010,” said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing Co. “Consistently strong, global demand for the X5 and X6, and now the all-new X3 to global markets, has led to a net increase in our export volume.

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All told, the maker’s single U.S. assembly plant, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, produced 110,000 vehicles for shipment outside the NAFTA region, worth $4.42 billion.

The plant, which went into operation in 1994, has so far produced 1.7 million vehicles, with about 70% of the X3 and X5 Sport-Activity Vehicles built there earmarked for export.

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New Fiat 500 Helping Chrysler Ramp Up Exports

Jeeps by the boatload bound for China.

by on Jan.28, 2011

Laura Soave, head of the Fiat brand in North America, stands with the new 500 minicar.

In a move that underscores the complexity of the global auto industry,  the new Fiat 500 being launched in North America will also debut on a wider, global stage as the Chrysler Group assembly plant in Toluca, Mexico ramps up production later this year.

The facility will help Chrysler’s Italian affiliate, Fiat, deliver on its promise of boosting worldwide exports which, in turn, will allow Fiat to gain a larger stake in the U.S. maker.

During a conversation in San Diego, this week, Chrysler officials confirmed the Mexican made Fiat will not only be sold in North America but also exported to a range of markets as far-flung as Brazil and China by the end of 2011.

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The Brazil-bound 500 will be equipped with a special engine that can run on 100% ethanol or ethanol –gasoline blends, according to a senior Chrysler engineer.  Chrysler officials have until recently been reluctant to discuss the wider plans for the 500, which is scheduled to go on sale next month, as the Fiat brand returns to the U.S. for the first time in nearly 30 years.

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