China's Great Wall Motor Co Ltd is interested in bidding for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, confirming earlier reports that it is pursuing all or part of the owner of brands including Jeep and truckmaker Ram. Ciara Lee reports.
It's already China's biggest SUV and pick-up manufacturer But Great Wall has a plan to rev up its profile globally. It's confirmed it's interested in bidding for Italian-controlled group Fiat Chrysler If it buys all of FCA it will get flagship American brand Jeep. Which many see as a natural fit considering SUV sales in China are soaring. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMON FRENCH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, PANMURE GORDON, SAYING: "As they look to cement their position in what is a strongly growing sector, as fuel efficiency is to the forefront but also consumer preferences for large vehicles. They want to play into that market with a recognised brand name that has 70-80 years worth of history behind it." Fiat Chrysler says it hasn't been approached by Great Wall, and is busy implementing its five-year business plan. It comes at a time when Beijing's attitude to outbound deals has cooled. If Great Wall bought FCA, which has a market value of almost $20 billion, it would be by far China's largest overseas car industry deal - dwarfing Geely's acquisition of Volvo cars. FCA is also larger than Great Wall, which has a market value of closer to $16 billion. FCA shares rose nearly four percent in Milan. While Great Wall Motor shares closed up almost 3 percent in Shanghai.