Following last week’s news that Chrysler will be exporting the Fiat 500 minicar to Brazil and wider South America from its Toluca facility in Mexico (read more here), CEO Sergio Marchionne has said that Fiat-Chrysler will also export the model to China.
Sales in China are expected to begin this summer but both Fiat and Chrysler said it was too early to discuss volumes and logistics details. As far as ocean shipping to China goes, one possibility could be Chrysler’s signing onto the NAPA (North America Pacific Asia) service in January 2010, which includes a service between the port of Lázaro Cárdanas on Mexico’s west coast and Xingang (Tianjin) port in China.
The shipping service is run by Norway’s Partner Shipping, which was bought out earlier this month by the Norwegian industrial group, Siem. The company, now called Siem Car Carriers, has said that the NAPA service will continue together with Praxis Logistics (read more here). 
Last year, Mexico increased exports of cars and light trucks by 52% to 1.86m vehicles, according to the Mexican automotive manufacturers association, AMIA. While 1.27m vehicles went to the US, more than 36,500 were exported to Asia, up almost 200% on the previous year.
The Toluca facility, which also makes the Dodge Journey, has the ability to produce 12,000 units of the Fiat 500 annually, with half destined for the US and Canada, and half expected to be shipped to Brazil and China. It began production of the 500 this month, with the first 1,000 off the production line – special edition versions with manual transmissions called Prima Edizione – being shipped to the US and Canada.
Models with automatic transmissions are expected to start shipping to those markets by the end of February.