Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors is expected to make a formal bid to acquire all, or at least some of the assets of, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to several reports out of Asia Monday morning.
The news comes a week after initial reports surfaced that FCA had rejected an earlier bid from an unspecified Chinese automotive manufacturer.
At the time, there was speculation several of that country’s native carmakers might seek such a deal with the spotlight focusing on both Great Wall and Guangzhou Automobile Group, which currently has a joint venture with FCA to produce Jeeps.
Great Wall is the largest Chinese producer of sport-utility vehicles and pickups, something that would be a “perfect fit” with FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands, said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. It is not clear if Great Wall would seek to acquire just those two divisions or all of Fiat Chrysler.
Another major question is whether such a deal would fly with regulators, especially those in the U.S., where President Donald Trump has raised a number of flags about trade with the Chinese nation – which also happens to be the world’s largest automotive market.
For its part, Fiat Chrysler issued a statement Monday morning that said, “it has not been approached by Great Wall Motors in connection with the Jeep brand or any other matter relating to its business.” The statement added that the Euro-American automaker was “fully committed” to its current five-year business plan, which runs through 2018.
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