Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles chief executive Sergio Marchionne has been anything but quiet about his attempts to sell FCA operations and merge with another automaker. However, most attempts have involved General Motors or Volkswagen.
GM supplied an outright “no” to Marchionne’s merger talks and Volkswagen has been overcome with fallout from its diesel scandal. Now, the Chinese reportedly have an eye on the automaker. That’s according to new information reported by Automotive News, which states representatives of a well-known Chinese automaker presented an offer to FCA to buy the automaker.
FCA rejected the sum as not enough, according to an inside source.
The report states other Chinese automakers have been in the hunt for an FCA buyout as well. Sources also say FCA executives have traveled to China to meet with Great Wall Motor Company and Chinese delegators were spotted at FCA’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters last week.
In China, domestic automakers are under pressure by the government to expand outside of their home market and all buyout efforts have the backing of the state government. FCA would be as close to a turn-key operation as there is for a Chinese automaker.
If a sale does go through, FCA would include the Dodge, Chrysler, Ram and Jeep brands in the sale to its potential Chinese owners, while Maserati and Alfa Romeo would not be included in such a deal. Both of the Italian marques would be held by Exfor and spun off for maximum profits, much like Ferrari.
However, the potential blowback from such a sale could be huge. It remains to be seen how consumers would react to a U.S. automaker being bought out by a Chinese firm, no matter where it’s headquartered. If Marchionne is to follow through on merging FCA with another automaker, China may be the only place to turn.