China's Great Wall Contacts Jeep To Open Acquisition Talks

Andrew Cummings
August 21, 2017

Great Wall Motor Co, China's biggest SUV maker, has requested a meeting with the Italian-American auto group, with the intention of acquiring all or part of it.

Great Wall "has this intention", said the public relations director for its Haval SUV brand, Zhao Lijia, when asked about a report by Automotive News that the Chinese automaker wants to buy Jeep. Automotive News reported that Great Wall is particularly interested in Jeep, the group's most profitable brand.

But this wasn't the only Great Wall news on Monday, the vehicle industry magazine Automotive News said that Great Wall had contacted FCA to express an interest specifically in its Jeep brand, citing an email from Great Wall President Wang Fengying.

Great Wall is known for its sport-utility vehicles, which are popular in China, so a deal would be "quite complementary" for the company, the analyst said.

"Our strategic goal is to become the world's largest SUV maker", Automotive News quoted the spokesman as saying.

Fiat Chrysler's shares had earlier risen by more than 3% amid speculation that a Chinese company was circling the company or one of its units.

Marchionne said in April that Jeep and Chrysler's Ram truck brand are strong enough to stand alone.

Its reputation dates back to World War Two, when Jeeps were used extensively by the U.S. military.

Great Wall Motor would not be the first Chinese auto company to make a major acquisition overseas.

It would also allow it to get around the politically charged issue of manufacturing in the United States to sell there, something that would otherwise take decades to build up.

They said Great Wall Motor had been making plans for some time to enter the US market, mainly by upgrading some of its key products and improving branding.

Earlier this year, Great Wall set up an R&D center in Detroit to be closer to the US auto companies, Hui also revealed. Wei is the surname of the Great Wall founder and chairman Wei Jianjun.

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