Chinese vehicle manufacturer Great Wall Motors (GWM) has reached out to the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to establish whether the Italian-controlled multinational corporation would be willing to sell its Jeep brand.
According to a report by Automotive News, analysts say that ‘Jeep is unquestionably the most valuable part of FCA’s portfolio and theoretically worth more on its own than the automaker as a whole.’
Great Wall President Wang Fengying, listed by Fortune as the seventh most powerful woman in Asia, wrote in an email to Automotive News that Great Wall intends to buy Jeep and is “connecting with FCA” to begin negotiations.
Subsequently GWM revealed through a spokesperson that it is ‘deeply interested in the Jeep brand’ and that ‘Our strategic goal is to become the world’s largest SUV maker. Acquiring Jeep, a global SUV brand, would enable us to achieve our goal sooner and better’ (than Great Wall could do with its own brands).
According to The Washington Post, ‘Great Wall sold just under 1.1 million SUVs last year, behind Jeep’s 1.4 million vehicles. Its revenue of $14.4 billion was a fraction of FCA’s global total of $118 billion, but its $1.5 billion profit was almost equal to the Italian-U.S. automaker’s $1.8 billion.’
With FCA being less profitable than you may imagine it’s no surprise that Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been vocal for a while that it cannot compete globally without selling or merging to form a substantial alliance (like that of Renault-Nissan).
In April Marchionne said that Jeep and Chrysler’s Ram truck brand are strong enough to stand alone as separate businesses.
FCA have declined to comment on communication with GWM.