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China's Great Wall hopes to buy parts of Fiat Chrysler

China's Great Wall Motor Corporation has voiced interest in bidding for Fiat Chrysler. The Italian-American carmaker has been grappling with rising costs and seeks to develop technology for self-driving vehicles.

"We currently have an intention to acquire [parts of Fiat Chrysler]," an official at China's Great Wall Motor's press department told Reuters on Monday.

Such an acquisition would no doubt be one of China's highest-profile manufacturing deals to date.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has been looking for a partner or buyer for the world's seventh-largest automaker to help it manage rising costs and comply with emissions regulations as well as boost technology for electric and self-driving vehicles.

It remained unclear exactly which part of FCA the Chinese company was interested in pursuing, but Jeep looked like the obvious choice.

Long-term strategy

"Jeep is the most logical choice since Great Wall wants to be the largest SUV maker in the world," said Yale Zhang, head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight.

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"I think Great Wall Motor is eying a global strategy, not just in the United States."

Nevertheless, a full or partial acquisition would first and foremost help the Chinese carmaker to accelerate a planned push into the American market.

Earlier this year the company launched a new Wei brand of potentially US-market-ready vehicles, with Wei being the last name of Great Wall Motor Chairman (and founder) Wei Jianjun.

Fiat Chrysler on Monday insisted it was not in talks with the Chinese carmaker and had not received any offer for Jeep or any other brand.

hg/tr (Reuters, AFP)

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