Amid reports Chinese automakers have begun eying Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles for an entire buyout, China’s Great Wall Motor Company stepped forward and publicly confirmed its interest. However, it’s really just interested in what is arguably FCA’s greatest asset: the Jeep brand.
According to Fiat-Chrysler Authority, Great Wall aspires to be the world’s largest producer of SUVs and it has a deep interest in acquiring the Jeep brand. Although FCA has officially rebuked all claims that Great Wall has reached out to begin negotiations over a Jeep or the sale of FCA itself, it didn’t rule out the notion of selling the brand off.
That’s why we’re here to ask if General Motors should step up and make a bid for the iconic Jeep brand.
Jeep has a storied history in the United States, despite trading hands with a few owners over the 20th and 21st century. FCA, arguably, has done the most to help the brand thrive, though. Per analyst estimates, the Jeep brand alone may be worth more than FCA in its entirety at roughly $33 billion.
Looking at General Motors, the automaker lacks a true off-road identity, which many believe was lost with Hummer. Purchasing Jeep would gain GM access to an avid customer base, and as the crossover and SUV market continues to steal passenger car sales, it’s not necessarily a risky bet, but rather it seems like a smart investment. And as GM moves away from unprofitable markets such as Europe, North America and China continue to print money in SUV and crossover sales.
However, there are likely some roadblocks. Purchasing just one brand from FCA would likely come with many caveats. Foremost, Jeep isn’t operated on its own as it stands. It shares dealerships with other FCA brands and the plants where Jeeps are assembled also build additional FCA product. Some serious reshuffling would be needed to make it work.
Not to get political about this, but let’s not kid ourselves either: we have a feeling most Americans would feel better about a U.S. automaker holding onto a brand like Jeep rather than the Chinese carmaker.
So, what say you? Would GM be foolish to pass up FCA’s crown jewel? Or does it not make sense with GM’s current trajectory? Vote in our poll and talk to us in the comment section below.