News: Italian automaker Fiat has launched its first facility in the Chinese province of Hunan. The facility will produce 140,000 Viaggio sedans annually to be sold in the local market. The facility is the latest move in a CNY5bn (US$786.73mn) joint venture between Fiat and Chinese automaker GAC. The Viaggio will share the same platform used in Chrysler's Dodge Dart car and Fiat's Alfa Romeo Giulietta car.
BMI View: Total new vehicle sales in China fell 3.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in Q112, but marginal growth of 1% in March has kept sales volumes on course to meet BMI's forecast of 19.8mn units in 2012. This represents growth of 7% y-o-y, which is below the 8-10% forecast by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, but is still a solid improvement on the 2.6% growth of 2011, taking into account weaker economic growth and localised restrictions on car purchases.