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Great Wall wants Jeep — only Jeep

by Bill Cawthon on

While larger Chinese automakers have been denying any interest in acquiring Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Great Wall Motors, China’s seventh-largest car company, wants to buy Jeep — but only Jeep.

According to Automotive News Europe, Great Wall hopes FCA is willing to sell its star brand, leaving it with Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.

Despite the fact that Jeep’s worldwide sales last year were hundreds of thousands more than Great Wall’s total, CEO Wang Fengying said in an email that her company definitely wants to see if a deal can be made. Xu Hui, a company spokesman, said that, while there have been indirect inquiries, there have not yet been any official meetings with FCA.  Fiat Chrysler officially said today that it had not been approached by Great Wall.

The attraction is easy to see. Jeep has the largest worldwide presence of any of the former Chrysler Corporation brands.  Jeep was the most significant attraction when Chrysler acquired AMC almost exactly 30 years ago.

In April, Sergio Marchionne said it was possible that Jeep could be spun off as a new company. Any signs of that coming to pass would likely set off a bidding war, perhaps pitting Great Wall against giant automakers like Volkswagen and General Motors.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas last week said Jeep by itself is worth more than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as a whole. Jonas pegged Jeep’s value at $17.20 per share compared to FCA’s $16.40, including Jeep.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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