And become the biggest SUV manufacturer in the world
Ever since news broke earlier this month that an unnamed Chinese automaker had tried to buy Fiat Chrysler, there have been rumors that another company may do the same. Both Geely and Dongfeng quickly confirmed they weren’t interested, but then things got interesting. Great Wall Motors says it doesn’t necessarily want to buy FCA, but it is interested in the Jeep brand.
Great Wall told Automotive News that it has already reached out to FCA and will attempt to negotiate the purchase of Jeep. “We are deeply interested in the Jeep brand and have paid close attention to it for a long time,” said Xu Hui, a Great Wall spokesperson. “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.”
But could Sergio Marchionne, FCA’s chief executive officer, be convinced to sell off what’s arguably its most valuable asset? In fact, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, Jeep is worth more on its own than FCA is as a whole. Back in April, Marchionne said he’d be open to spinning Jeep off as its own company, so he’s not completely against the idea. But if Jeep is really worth the $33.5 billion USD that Jonas estimates, will a company that generated less than $15 billion USD in revenue last year be able to raise the necessary cash? Even if it does, there’s always the chance that another automaker will swoop in and outbid Great Wall.
At the moment, though, this is all speculation. FCA said in a statement today that Great Wall has yet to actually approach it about Jeep or any other business matter. Assuming that happens soon, expect to find out exactly how attached Marchionne is to Jeep.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)