(Possible) China Buyout Watch: Chrysler And Great Wall

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
possible china buyout watch chrysler and great wall

Two weeks ago, Chrysler terminated its joint venture talks with Chery. This doesn’t stop Chrysler from talking to the Chinese. The talks go in two directions: One, Chrysler needs low cost cars, and the Chinese have them. Two, Chrysler is looking for a buyer, and a Chinese company may just have mercy and cash and take Chrysler off the sweaty hands of Cerberus. Hell, you never know. Now, Chrysler has been spotted chatting up Great Wall Motors, Gasgoo reports. Great Wall is known for its large portfolio of SUVs and MPVs. They also got into hot legal waters with Fiat who claimed that Great Wall’s Peri (called Jing Ling in China) is a copy of Fiat’s Panda. A court in Turin said Fiat is right and Great Wall is wrong. A copyright claim in China is slowly grinding through the wheels of the Chinese courts.

According to Gasgoo, Philip Murtaugh, Chrysler Asia CEO, went to inspect Great Wall Motor’s facility last week to look into the code-named CH041 model and CH031 hatchback, which could be the A-class model Chrysler needs. Murtaugh was supposedly satisfied with the two models. Great Wall Motor said the two parties will launch “CH031” first if the projects fare well. The two automakers are still in talks and nothing is definite yet, said Great Wall Motor. If the models see the light of mass production, they will go on sale in overseas markets with the Chrysler label. A Chrysler China executive said Chrysler was in – duh – “a transitional period.” They might need Great Wall, one way or the other.

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4 of 5 comments
  • Windswords Windswords on Dec 17, 2008

    Hey Kids, can you spell ‘desperation’ ?!?!? Dumbler? Dieter Zetche?

  • Mike Stevens Mike Stevens on Dec 17, 2008

    This makes no damned sense. The Chinese, flush with cash? Really? When their own market is contracting, their own government is bailing them out, and their sweatshops that specialize in making commodities for failing markets in Europe, the US, and elsewhere in Asia are slowing down? Macroeconomics would suggest otherwise, that we are in one global economic big fishbowl, and Chinese conglomerates (that are now making cars as the ultimate result of their experience making many other, simpler things first) might take a more pragmatic approach by conserving their saved cash. Plus, even if there was a Chinese company that somehow did escape the global economic meltdown, would Chrysler be the partner they would feel comfortable forging a future with? Their adventures in Asia have kind of a Malcom Bricklin smell to them. Excuse me while I suspend my disbelief.

  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Dec 17, 2008
    Their adventures in Asia have kind of a Malcom Bricklin smell to them. That's pretty funny, since Scam 'em Bricklin was hooked up with Chery prior to Chrysler's misadventures. I remember having a rather amusing little tete-a-tete with Bricklin's punk kid on another car site (that I no longer frequent). I offered his Chery deal would go down in flames, and detailed a short list of old Malcolm's pathetically transparent hustles. It was pretty amusing to hear the grifter-in-training's vitriolic responses. To his credit, the kids who didn't know history thought I was just sooo wrong about that fine man. LOL
  • Charly Charly on Dec 17, 2008

    Chinese market isn't growing as fast as expected but to claim it is contracting over a whole year is news. Besides the Chinese car companies are all part state companies so it isn't a bailout but an investment.