Could The Jeep Brand Cross The Ocean For A New Home In China?

Image courtesy of (Scott Nesham)

Nearly 30 years after Chrysler bought the Jeep brand from American Motors Corporation, the seminal SUV brand could be switching hands and continents: Chinese carmaker Great Wall says it plans to acquire Jeep from Fiat Chrysler. 

A rep for Great Wall confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that the company plans to pursue Jeep, but couldn’t confirm if the company had put in an offer for the brand, or if it just was preparing to do so.

Meanwhile, FCA said Monday that it had not yet been approached by Great Wall related to a deal for Jeep or any of its other brands.

Just The Latest

Great Wall’s desire to purchase Jeep comes a week after the rumors began swirling that Chinese carmakers were eyeing FCA.

Reports surfaced last week that FCA had rejected an offer from a well-known, but unidentified, Chinese automaker, because it believed the financial terms of the deal weren’t enough.

While it’s unclear which Chinese company offered to merge with FCA, sources noted that several carmakers have shown interest in the company, including its current joint venture partner, Guangzhou.

Interested automakers have reportedly traveled to FCA’s Michigan headquarters, while FCA executives have traveled to China, where the government has pushed its manufacturers to expand into foreign markets.

On The Prowl

The possible Great Wall deal is a change of pace for FCA and CEO Sergio Marchionne after years of pursuing other carmakers, only to be rebuffed.

Back in 2015, Marchionne declared he wanted to hug rival carmaker General Motors so hard they just became one.

“There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you. Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact,” Marchionne said at the time, addressing the possibility that the carmaker would seek a hostile take over of GM.

After several attempts to woo GM were rebuffed, FCA set its sights on Volkswagen, which wasn’t exactly saying “No” to the idea at the time.

Despite the lovelorn attitude, Marchionne said in April he was ditching his marriage desires to concentrate on his company’s bottom line.