The chinese Great Wall, eyeing Fiat-Chrysler

Photo: Marco Bertorello Agence France-Presse
According to the website specialized Automotive News, Great Wall would not be interested in the brand of vehicle all-terrain Jeep.

The group chinese automobile Great Wall Motor said Monday, have views on the constructor, Italian-american Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which it could attempt to buy back the Jeep, in order to reinforce its position in the 4×4 urban, very popular in China.


Weakened by the erosion of its sales in the United States, FCA could find its lifeline in an offer of redemption chinese : the hypothesis, which is the subject of lively speculation over the last week, was confirmed Monday by the interest shown by the seventh manufacturer of China.


“We are certainly interested to carry out an acquisition,” related to FCA, even if, for now, “this remains an intention,” no formal offer having been made, indicated to the AFP a spokesman of Great Wall Motor.


For all that, “we will act in a serious way [to achieve] this intention of redemption,” she pointed out, without wanting to specify whether a future offer would cover all or part of the group FCA.


According to the website specialized Automotive News, Great Wall would not be interested in the brand of vehicle all-terrain Jeep. Its executive, Wang Fengying, “is in contact” with Fiat-Chrysler to “start negotiations” on this topic, added the site.


For its part, FCA said on Monday in a press release has ” not been approached by Great Wall Motor about the brand Jeep or any other case “.


Specialist SUVS (4x4s in urban areas), of which he is the first chinese manufacturer, Great Wall has sold last year’s 1.07 million vehicles in China, but its international presence remains anecdotal (17 400 units passed).


Buy only a part


Given its positioning, it could be that the Great Wall “prefers to buy back” the only subsidiary Jeep ” rather than reproducing the entire group FCA “, and the charges associated with the estimated Bill Russo, director of the firm Gao Feng Advisory, and former head of Chrysler in China.


“Jeep is the jewel of the Fiat-Chrysler […] it is a brand with high value” and benefiting from long-standing in China with a reputation of quality, explained Mr Russo to the AFP.


Chrysler, before its acquisition in 2009 by Fiat, while it was in bankruptcy, had been one of the first us car manufacturers to gain a foothold in the chinese market, with the Jeep, in the early 1980s.


In the first half of 2017, FCA has elapsed in the land of 110 000 cars on-site, taking advantage precisely of a jump in sales of Jeep produced by its joint venture with the local manufacturer GAC.


Sales of 4×4 urban has the wind in its sails on the first global automotive market : they have gone from 45 % last year to 9.05 million units, according to the federation of professional CAAM.


At a time when the Great Wall tries to climb in the range, offering models that are more expensive — and more profitable —, a buyout of Jeep, it would strengthen its image, ” observes John Zeng, analyst from the firm shanghainese CML, quoted by the agency Bloomberg.


To finance the development


An acquisition in china may allow FCA to save its brands Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat, and to give him the necessary means to develop its activities in research and development.


His p.-d. g. current, Sergio Marchionne, had given in 2015 its independence to Ferrari and could do the same for Alfa Romeo and Maserati. Put other brands, including Jeep, under chinese control, therefore, could be part of his strategy.


By giving in to the Jeep, FCA “may get a very good price,” judge Bill Russo.


In addition, Great Wall might not be the only automaker of the Middle empire into the ranks.


Automotive News has said last week that representatives of a group of chinese automobile “well known” — but not named by the site — had already made at least one bid in July to acquire FCA ” above market value “.


These different information to ignite the market : the Milan stock Exchange, the FCA designation has ended up 6.92 % to 11,44€.


Of course, such an operation would not be unprecedented : the Swedish Volvo, another big name in the automotive industry western had been acquired by the chinese Geely in 2010.


But the passage under chinese pavilion of Fiat-Chrysler, the flagship of american industry, which could prove to be more complicated at a time when the president, Donald Trump denounces gladly trade imbalances between Beijing and Washington.

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