China's Great Wall eyes Fiat Chrysler bid

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"We are deeply interested in the Jeep brand and have paid close attention to it for a long time", Xu Hui, a spokesman for Great Wall, also confirmed.

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"As for the plans for later stages, doing what on which day, this is an issue for the strategy of the top management level", she said.

In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said it had not been approached by Great Wall Motor, and was busy with implementing its current five-year business plan.

An acquisition by Great Wall Motor would be audacious, and one of China's highest profile manufacturing deals to date.

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It follows earlier reports that Great Wall had asked to meet Fiat executives to discuss buying its Jeep brand. Also on Monday, citing an e-mail from Great Wall Motor President Wang Fengying, Automotive News reported that Great Wall Motor had contacted FCA to express interest specifically in the Jeep brand. Automotive News quoted a spokesman as saying: "Our strategic goal is to become the world's largest SUV [sport utility vehicle] maker".

After Geely denied that it is buying into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), another Chinese carmaker is now in the picture. Great Wall Motor shares closed up nearly 3 percent in Shanghai.

Jeep has an global reputation that has been built up since the Second World War. Automotive News reported that Great Wall is particularly interested in Jeep, the group's most profitable brand. Wei is the surname of the Great Wall founder and chairman Wei Jianjun. "I think Great Wall Motor is eyeing a global strategy, not just the United States", Zhang added.

In a recent note, Morgan Stanley estimated Jeep's enterprise value at 23 billion euros ($27 billion) - almost 150 percent of the whole of FCA's market value. Great Wall's SUVs are sold in Malaysia under the Haval brand, which has the H1 and H2 crossovers. Earlier this year, Great Wall set up an R&D center in Detroit to be closer to the US auto companies, Hui also revealed.

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