Lifestyle

Automakers show interest in buying Jeep brand

It is no mystery that certain automotive manufacturers worldwide want Jeep under their corporate banners.

The off-roader with World War II origins is the crown jewel in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles portfolio. Its mystique is worldwide. From corporate comments, it appears Jeep is for sale.

Financial analysts said Jeep is worth more than the combined portfolio of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ($33.5 billion vs. $32 billion). Besides Jeep, the portfolio includes Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, SRT, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati and Fiat.

Great Wall Motor Co., a Chinese company, is one of Jeep’s suitors. Others that might be interested are Mahindra, General Motors and Volkswagen.

GM dropped Hummer in 2010 and a Jeep could be the SUV replacement. Mahindra of India is big in truck and off-road vehicle production. Jeep would be that company’s entry into the U.S. market. Volkswagen wants a larger footprint in the U.S. market. Jeep would do that.

In 2016, worldwide sales of Jeeps totaled 1.41 million. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne hinted in April that Jeep could be sold. Great Wall began to make overtures.

“We are deeply interested in the Jeep brand and have paid close attention to it for a long time,” Great Wall spokesman Xu Hui said this summer in an interview with a reporter from the trade journal Automotive News. “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.”

Jeeps sold in the U.S. are Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade and Compass. A jeep pickup truck is in the making. Although mum on the subject, the pickup probably will be on display as early as December’s Los Angeles auto show. Its likely name will be Scrambler.

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