What was first a rumor is now fact. Is there a deal to be made?
Last week, Automotive News learned that a "well-known Chinese automaker" had made an offer to buy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Although representatives from both automakers visited the other’s respective headquarters to talk more, the deal didn’t end up happening. Turns out that Chinese automaker was likely Great Wall Motor Co. and it has just confirmed to Auto News that not only is it interested in buying Jeep, it’s also asked FCA whether a deal is even possible.
To be clear, Great Wall Motor Co. doesn’t appear to be, for now at least, interested in other mainstream FCA brands, Fiat, Chrysler Dodge, and Ram. Only Jeep. As for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, FCA would split the pair off much in the same way it did with Ferrari, but only if a deal with a Chinese carmaker could be reached. But things are different today with this latest development. Great Wall President Wang Fengying, emailed Auto News to confirm his company’s Jeep ownership aspirations and that it’s "connecting with FCA" to get negotiations underway. As for FCA, it’s so far refused to comment. Deep breaths, everyone. Could Jeep become fully Chinese-owned? Could Marchionne be hatching a plan to spin Jeep off as well in a joint partnership with Great Wall?
Look, anything’s possible, but the fact is that Great Wall hasn’t been secretive regarding its desire to own Jeep. "We are deeply interested in the Jeep brand and have paid close attention to it for a long time," a Great Wall spokesman told Auto News. "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." Well, there you have it. Will FCA and Great Wall strike a deal? If so, how will President Trump react, given his public criticism of Chinese business policies? We’re as anxious as we’re sure all of you are to see how this will play out. We’ll keep you updated.