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China's Great Wall confirms interest in Jeep [update]

by Ronan Glon

Great Wall hopes buying Jeep will make it the world\'s largest SUV brand.

Updated by Ronan Glon: Added comments from FCA.

China's Great Wall Motor has confirmed it's interested in buying Jeep from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

Great Wall president Wang Fengying told members of her team are currently talking to FCA officials to gauge whether or not a deal can be struck. The negotiation points haven't been made public, but it sounds like they're not at a very advanced stage. A spokesperson told the industry trade journal that a formal offer hasn't been made yet.

"We are deeply interested in the Jeep brand and have paid close attention to it for a long time. Our strategic goal is to become the world's largest SUV maker. Acquiring Jeep, a global SUV brand, would enable us to achieve our goal sooner and better," the company explained in a statement.

A separate report published by the claims Great Wall has clarified it wants to buy all of FCA, not just Jeep. Interestingly, FCA said it hasn't been approached by anyone from Great Wall about buying Jeep or any other part of its business.

In April, FCA boss Sergio Marchionne told the he's open to the idea of spinning off Jeep and Ram. His overall message to interested buyers is "make me an offer I can't refuse." Analysts agree Jeep is likely worth more than the rest of FCA put together.

Automotive News reports Great Wall's interest in Jeep -- and FCA's willingness to spin off the brand -- could start a bidding war. Jeep is one of the most emblematic automakers in the world, so Great Wall certainly won't be the only company interested in an acquisition.

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