With another Chinese automaker saying they were not making offers on FCA yesterday, rumors of a big acquisition seem to be dying down. That doesn’t mean there’s no deal, though. There are still other major players in China, and other ways to work with the Italian-American-Brazilian company.

Source “redriderbob” wrote that, according to his contacts, the meeting with Chinese automakers was not about selling brands, but specific vehicles — the Dodge Dart, Journey, and Caravan; the Chrysler 200; and the Jeep Patriot, as well as two South American Fiats. The Chinese company would acquire the intellectual property rights to these cars and, more importantly, the tooling. The branding would change, but the cars are all relatively competitive, and could be made cheaply without any need to amortize engineering costs.

Most of these cars would have problems meeting new crash requirements in North America, but not in China. The engines may not be appropriate for China, but Fiat can produce small diesels and four-cylinder engines for them. Redriderbob said that, if that deal was indeed real, its products would be seen within nine months.

Another possibility is making a deals to have a Chinese company use FCA’s distribution systems; Korean Hyundai, and then Japanese Mitsubishi, sold cars in Mexico through FCA. Thus, a Chinese automaker could either supply cars to be rebadged in South America and Mexico, or could sell them under their own brand, using FCA dealers and parts warehouses.  They could also begin new joint ventures.

FCA could even be looking to replace the Mitsubishi L200 pickup, currently sold under the Fiat and Ram brands around the world, with a Chinese pickup.

As for yesterday’s rather public bid for Jeep, by Great Wall: count this as highly unlikely to succeed. Unless Great Wall really can make FCA an offer it can’t refuse, it’s unlikely to get the company’s most valuable brand. [Update: Great Wall essentially backed out today, saying it had not spoken with FCA at all and wasn’t sure if it would pursue Jeep.]