In what is nearly actually going to be little greater than a faint reminiscence within the minds of devoted readers at AmericasJeepLovers.org, the potential relationship between Wang Fengying’s Nice Wall Motors Co. and Sergio Marchionne’s Fiat Chrysler Cars has taken a flip for the much less seemingly already.
It looks like years in the past — no, wait, it looks like yesterday — that Nice Wall Motors Co. publicly declared its viability as a suitor for FCA Jeep, an important, highest-value, major supply of desirability throughout the FCA household. Jeep, you’ll recall, is probably going price considerably extra by itself than the entire of FCA, Jeep included. This explains why it got here as no shock that Nice Wall Motors or every other automaker would specific an curiosity in buying Jeep from FCA. With enormous world potential for a vastly well-liked model that hasn’t but tapped many open markets, Jeep has attain.
However does Nice Wall even have the cash? Would FCA even entertain the thought of promoting off its most precious element? And is there even any hope of negotiation?
These have been the questions yesterday. At this time, Nice Wall made clear that the corporate “had not made any progress thus far” in buying the Jeep model and hasn’t even spoken with FCA in regards to the not-so-potential buy.
With Jeep within the midst of main generational changeovers, U.S. gross sales have taken a dramatic downturn regardless of continued well being within the SUV/crossover market through which Jeep ought to, theoretically, exert a lot management. The second-generation Jeep Compass is changing each the previous Compass and the departing Patriot, and Jeep is decided to generate a larger share of the Compass’s gross sales outdoors the fleet community. The fast-approaching alternative of the JK-generation Jeep Wrangler additionally reduces demand as The Trustworthy await the potential for a extra alluring car simply across the nook. Jeep’s Cherokee, in the meantime, is aged and now going through sturdy competitors from the Compass. This leaves the Grand Cherokee and Renegade, the 2 Jeeps which aren’t, surprisingly, faring one of the best compared with final yr.
However, Jeep gross sales are down 13 % within the U.S. this yr, a warning signal for any potential FCA suitor that considers the model invincible. However the actual purpose would-be consumers of the Jeep model, equivalent to China’s Nice Wall Motors, have such an curiosity within the seven-slat grille pertains to the restricted world publicity of the model.
The U.S. market accounts for one-fifth of the worldwide auto business’s quantity, but Jeep solely generates one-third of its gross sales outdoors of America. No marvel Nice Wall is keen to publicly state its Jeep curiosity. Think about how highly effective Jeep may very well be if it offered automobiles in giant numbers elsewhere.
Wanting Jeep, in fact, doesn’t imply you possibly can have Jeep.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Reality About Vehicles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.web. Observe on Twitter @timcaincars.