A Chinese automaker named after the country's most iconic structure says it wants to own the most quintessentially American of automakers: Jeep.
One week ago, a report claimed an unnamed Chinese automaker had placed a bid to buyout Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, a move that would fulfill CEO Sergio Marchionne's dream of merging with another automaker ahead of his retirement. Following that initial report, FCA's suitor has revealed itself—though it's really just interested in the crown jewel: Jeep.
Automotive News (subscription required) reports Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Company has stepped forward as an interested party in FCA, specifically in the Jeep brand. Great Wall says its goal is to become "the world's largest SUV maker."
Xu Hui, a spokesman for Great Wall, added, "We are deeply interested in the Jeep brand and have paid close attention to it for a long time."
The report goes on to say Great Wall is "connecting with FCA" to begin negotiations, though the U.S. automaker has utterly rebuked the report. FCA's official statement claims Great Wall has not reached out to the automaker over the sale of the automaker itself, the Jeep brand, or any related business to the company.
Jeep has been one of FCA's shining stars in recent years with the market's turn to crossovers and SUVs. The brand's image is also ingrained in rugged, off-road prowess; the association surely helps move Jeeps from dealerships to driveways.
What could a Jeep sale actually be worth? Industry analysts attempted to place a price on the brand by looking at its per share value. After the legwork and market inferences, analysts believe the brand could be worth up to $33.5 billion in the event it is sold to a new owner.