Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Reportedly Being Courted by Chinese Automakers

Jeep and Ram's Success Adding to FCA's Appeal for Foreign Companies

We recently reported that some analysts think the Jeep brand alone might be worth as much as its entire parent corporation, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The latest from Automotive News might corroborate such a statement, as FCA is apparently being pursued by unspecified Chinese automakers that might like to purchase the company in part for the profitable off-road brand.

Automotive News reports that executives from large Chinese automakers have been looking into FCA for potential purchase, and a source said FCA executives have traveled to China to meet with an automaker there. Reportedly, a major automaker from China made an offer to purchase FCA in the last month, but that offer was rejected for being too low.

Any sale would almost certainly include the Italian-American company’s two most profitable brands, Jeep and Ram. It would also probably include Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat, but would spin Alfa Romeo and Maserati off, away from their commodity-oriented corporate siblings.

Evidently, FCA is attracting attention from Chinese automakers due to pressure from the Chinese government to expand into global markets, spaces where the Jeep and Fiat brands have a particular stronghold. A tie-up between FCA and rumored suitors Dongfeng, Great Wall Motor, Geely, or Guangzhou Automobile Group would result in a gateway for the winning bidder to enter markets outside China.

For his part, company CEO Sergio Marchionne has reiterated he’s committed to extracting as much value from FCA as possible, so it’s not likely that a China deal is coming soon. But if it does, will the new venture be headquartered in the U.S., China, Italy, or somewhere else? Will the market be open to China-sourced Dodge Hellcats and Jeep Wranglers? And will a chilly political climate permit such a deal? Only time will tell.