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By Michelle Krebs, Opinion Contributor

Chinese interest in Jeep reflects intertwined global economy


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Article Highlights

  1. Jeep and its parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, are for sale, and foreign companies are the most likely buyers.
  2. Domestic automakers General Motors and Ford are unlikely buyers, at least for the entire Fiat Chrysler enterprise, which includes the Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge and Ram brands in the U.S., as well as Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati in Europe.
  3. Selling a high-profile U.S. automaker, one with an iconic American brand like Jeep, will be tricky, especially against the complicated backdrop of politics and entangled business relationships, but it is not impossible.

Great Wall Motor Co.’s flirtation with Jeep ended as abruptly as it started, but it won’t be the last we’ll hear from foreign automakers, including ones from China, regarding the iconic American sport-utility company.

Jeep and its parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, are for sale, and foreign companies are the most likely buyers.

Great Wall, China’s largest sport-utility vehicle manufacturer has global aspirations, and it said publicly — through the media — that it wanted to buy Jeep. But within a day or so, the company admitted it made no official offer, and it hadn’t decided if it would continue its pursuit.

It is not clear why Great Wall backed off. Perhaps it was the potential political backlash as tensions between the U.S. and China rise, or the hefty price tag for Jeep was bandied about in the press. In any event, Great Wall’s public overture kicked off global media coverage, pushed Fiat Chrysler’s stock price to new highs and alerted the world that Fiat Chrysler and Jeep were in play.

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