That is China’s Great Wall Motor Company, which is currently China’s seventh largest automaker in the country. The Chinese automaker told The Financial Times, “We have always had the interest and intention to acquire FCA.” Additionally, the Chinese automaker has alluded it would be interested in simply purchasing Jeep from FCA, which is arguably FCA’s most important brand it operates.
According to the report, Great Wall has written to FCA with intents to start negotiations over a full buyout or to purchase the Jeep brand. Great Wall said it wants to become the world’s largest producer of SUVs globally; acquiring Jeep is certainly one way to do that.
Looking at only Jeep, a purchase of the one brand could prove difficult. Jeep does not operate standalone dealerships, which means franchise laws and regulations could prove difficult to navigate if the one brand was plucked from FCA showrooms. Additionally, analysts say it seems unlikely Great Wall could finance the deal as its sales slip and profits declined this year. Great Wall’s sales fell 4.7 percent year over year, revenues dropped 13.7 percent and net profit fell 78.8 percent.
The Chinese automaker reportedly doesn’t have much cash on hand, another major factor. Automotive News placed a $33.5 billion value on the Jeep brand alone.
FCA released an official statement rebuking Great Wall’s intentions.
“In response to market rumors regarding a potential interest of Great Wall Motors in the Jeep brand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed that it has not been approached by Great Wall Motors in connection with the Jeep brand or any other matter relating to its business.”