Ever since the rumor of a Chinese automaker possibly buying Fiat Chrysler Automobiles came to light last week, the various Chinese brands have been saying 'not us'. It seemed no one was interested in taking FCA to the dance, or wanted to admit it out loud. That changed today as Great Wall Motor revealed to Automotive News that it was interested in buying FCA, well part of it.
Great Wall President Wang Fengying wrote in an email to Automotive News that the company is intending to buy Jeep and is "connecting with FCA" to possibly begin negotiations. Xu Hui, a spokesman for Great Wall said in a follow-up email that the company "has indirectly expressed interest in Jeep but has not yet made a formal offer or met with FCA's board."
A statement from FCA says that it has not been contacted by Great Wall about Jeep or any other business matter.
It doesn't come as a big surprise that Great Wall is only interested Jeep. The brand is seen by many as being the crown jewel of FCA due to its reputation of being a go-anywhere SUV. Analysts believe the brand on its own is worth more than FCA as a whole. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas estimated last week that Jeep has a value of $33.5 billion vs. the $32 billion for FCA.
If Great Wall was to purchase Jeep, what would they do with it?
"Our strategic goal is to become the world's largest SUV maker. Acquiring Jeep, a global SUV brand, would enable us to achieve our goal sooner and better" than Great Wall could do with its own brands, said Hui.
Great Wall has an r&d center in Los Angeles and has just set up another one in Detroit this year to learn more about the U.S. market.
The big question is will FCA be willing to part with Jeep or require Great Wall to buy most of FCA.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)