August 21, 2017 / 6:35 AM / a month ago

China's Great Wall interested in Fiat Chrysler's Jeep brand -report

Aug 21 (Reuters) - Car maker Great Wall Motor Co Ltd has contacted Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) to express interest in buying its Jeep brand, Automotive News reported on Monday, citing an email from Great Wall President Wang Fengying.

Automotive News last week reported that representatives of an unidentified, “well-known Chinese automaker” made an offer earlier this month, leading to a spike in FCA’s share price.

In Monday’s report, the industry publication cited a Great Wall spokesman confirming interest, but saying the automaker had not made a formal offer or met with FCA’s board.

“Our strategic goal is to become the world’s largest SUV maker,” Automotive News quoted the spokesman as saying, referring to sport utility vehicles. “Acquiring Jeep, a global SUV brand, would enable us to achieve our goal sooner and better (than on our own).”

Great Wall officials were not immediately available for comment. FCA declined to comment.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters last week that Great Wall was among Chinese automakers keen to expand overseas that had considered buying part or all of FCA.

FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne is seeking a partner or buyer for the world’s seventh-largest automaker to help it manage rising costs, comply with emissions regulations and develop technology for electric and self-driving cars. (Reporting by Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI and Giulia Segreti in MILAN)

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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