A Chinese link may help Chrysler hatch a plan to bring the Dodge Hornet to Australia. DaimlerChrysler is believed to be close to announcing a joint-venture deal with Chinese carmaker Chery Motors, that will see its hot Hornet hatch concept turn into a production reality.
However, Chrysler Australia Group managing director, Gerry Jenkins, says the Chery talks are ongoing and nothing firm has been decided.
But he would definitely like to have the Hornet in local showrooms. "We'd love to have it because there is a huge appetite for these B-segment cars," Jenkins says.
However, despite having his fingers crossed that the Chery deal will go ahead, he is wary of speculation.
"Unfortunately there's nothing definitive at this point," he says.
Jenkins says Chery's decision to build the car for China could enhance the car's prospects for Australia.
"But I can't really give you a time-frame," he says. "There isn't anything official at this point. I can only really speculate that it's in the foreseeable future."
He says a car the size of the Hornet would be ideal for the Dodge brand, which is still in its infancy here.
"That sub-$20,000 market is an interesting market and I'd love to be able to play in it," Jenkins says. He also believes the Hornet would present a good value proposition for a first-time Chrysler-Dodge buyer.
The Hornet was first shown as a concept at last year's Geneva motor show. Its compact, modern design was specifically tailored to the ultra-competitive European light car segment. The showcar is powered by a rear drive supercharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine developing 128kW mated to a six-speed manual. Its size, engine and looks clearly aims the Hornet at the Mini Cooper.
Chrysler also has the Demon sports car; a hit at the Geneva show. Jenkins says the company is now in the process of putting a business case together for production of the car.
“I have my fingers crossed on that one as well,” he says.
And if the Demon gets the nod, it will be aimed right at the Mazda MX5.