Contradictions, to say the least.
Over the past several days, we’ve received reports that China’s Great Wall Motor Co. is actively interested in purchasing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), or just part of it, specifically Jeep. Great Wall’s President was very vocal about her company’s intentions in regards to FCA. And a company spokesman went even further, singling out Jeep as the star attraction. Today, however, Bloomberg is reporting that Great Wall is now saying there are "big uncertainties" about its FCA intentions.
For its part, FCA completely denied any discussions were or had taken place between it and Great Wall, or any other Chinese automaker. It says it’s committed to its existing growth plan, but that plan only goes through 2018. As for Great Wall, not only is it now pouring cold water on all of its previous talk, but is also claiming it hasn’t even contacted FCA’s board. Despite everything, we still think something is going on behind the scenes, informally speaking. Bloomberg further points out a Morgan Stanley estimate that the Jeep brand alone with worth $24 billion – more than half of FCA’s entire market value.
CEO Sergio Marchionne has been vocal in the past about the need for industry "consolidation," hence his desire to merge with GM, for example. So it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to hear about supposed early talks with a Chinese carmaker, especially given Jeep’s high market value. What was surprising was how Great Wall’s president publically said one thing, while FCA denies any discussions, and Great Wall is now walking back on its words. What will happen tomorrow or in the following days? We’re just as intrigued as many of you are.