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Chrysler plans global expansion after Daimler split

Chrysler LLC is working on a significant global expansion following its split from Daimler AG, a senior executive said here.

That expansion will include forging new international partnerships and could involve renewing past alliances with Mitsubishi and Hyundai, said Frank Klegon, Vice President of Chrysler’s product development. “We want to grow as a global enterprise,” Klegon said yesterday at an automotive conference in Traverse City, Michigan.

The announcement comes as Chrysler flexes its muscles under new owner Cerberus, a private equity group which bought an 80.1% stake in the historic US car company for $7.4 billion on August 3.

Plans are in the works for new engineering and procurement centers in China and Poland to supplement facilities already established in Mexico and India, Klegon said. These centers will also help locate suppliers for various components, negotiate with local governments on regulations and fine-tune vehicles to regional consumer demands, he said. “We look to have three development centers that will look from a global perspective for lower-cost sourcing,” he said. The aim would be to design and develop lower-cost vehicles with a local partner that could be exported to other regions. Chinese-made cars will be the first off the block for both local production and export, he said. “I don’t see us producing cars in India for quite some time... It’s more of a technology hub for us,” he said. (