Last week we brought you news that FCA, the company born out of the Fiat/Chrysler merger, may be sold to a Chinese automaker.
That would turn the once-iconic American Chrysler brand into a wholly foreign-owned corporation while giving a Chinese automaker entry into the coveted American car market.
This is a sale that could actually happen, but it may affect only one brand, leaving the rest of the FCA stable with a questionable future. Which brand looks most appealing to the Chinese?
Great Wall Motor is China’s largest maker of SUVs, and acquiring Jeep would be a huge accomplishment. The automaker commented on Monday that it would be interested in Jeep, though the New York Times said,
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Italian-controlled company that owns Jeep, said it had not heard from Great Wall, however, suggesting that considerable ground would have to be covered before a deal could be reached.
Still, the comments from Great Wall signal China’s continuing interest in becoming a global force in the auto industry. Chinese carmakers have shown interest in expanding outside their home market in recent years, and the fastest way to do that would be to acquire an existing automaker.
CNBC says FCA may be waiting to engage with Great Wall for a few more months, which would give it some time to demand an optimal price. The longer it waits, though, the more suitors might step up to bid for the brand.
Whether the entire company and its suite of brands wind up in China’s hands or just Jeep, the ramifications would be huge. Investors might love the deal, but customers would likely struggle with their beloved Jeep brand falling into foreign hands.
A sale won’t happen overnight and could in fact take many months, but it’s looking more and more likely that FCA’s wish to merge with another automaker will become a reality.
More signs are pointing to a foreign-owned Jeep. Are you ready?
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