QOTD: Do You Care If China Sells You Your Next Jeep Wrangler?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd do you care if china sells you your next jeep wrangler

As you’re probably aware, this week began with rumblings that several Chinese automakers, some of them state-owned, are taking an interest in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Not entirely surprising, as we all know FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s spent the past year or so positioning his company for a potential takeover. Slashing debt, consolidating its operations, all to look pretty for that potential mate.

Sure, General Motors and Volkswagen rebuffed the company’s awkward advances, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea for a company with an urge to merge. However, with cash-flush Chinese manufacturers, buyouts are more likely than partnerships.

If it comes to pass, it might not be a bad thing for the volatile American automaker. China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., owner of Volvo Cars, did great things for the Swedish brand, overcoming its financial issues while affording the automaker a hands-off approach. Is Volvo making great cars again? Is it on solid footing?

All signs point to “yes.”

Do people still view the brand as a Swedish entity? Yes, just as they do for Jaguar and Land Rover and Mini and Rolls-Royce’s Britishness, despite its owners residing across the English Channel. In the case of Jaguar, well beyond the white cliffs of Dover.

Fiat Chrysler isn’t exactly new to foreign partnerships. Anyone interested in a Dodge Colt? Plymouth Cricket or Sapporo, perhaps? How about a Renault-engineered Eagle Premier or Medallion? How about something from the DaimlerChrysler era? How about a model from today — a Jeep with Fiat underpinnings?

If ever there was a Detroit Three Automaker willing to attract offers from China, it’s Chrysler. Arguably, using Volvo’s story as a guide, Chinese ownership could be a good thing for FCA. Ram 1500s and Jeep Wranglers will still roll out of U.S. assembly plants, the Pentastar sign won’t disappear from Auburn Hills, Michigan, but the company’s global reach would expand greatly. Chinese customers want American products, SUVs especially, and partnerships are already a must for any domestic automaker looking to manufacture vehicles in China. Just ask Ford and GM.

The question today is: would Chinese ownership taint the company and its brands, or has globalization reached a point where no one pays attention to the company behind the curtain, as long as the product remains desirable?

We live in a land of German-owned Rollers and Indian-owned Jags. Does it matter one iota who owns the company selling you a Jeep?

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3 of 144 comments
  • PandaBear PandaBear on Aug 16, 2017

    Personally, I think FCA products can't get any worse than it is, so what the hell. Then again, I'd pick a Chinese Volvo over a US made Fiat any day.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Aug 16, 2017

    It doesn't matter. Sergio has run the company into the ground, shutting down models that never got updated when they no longer sell, with no replacement considered, and squandering cash on muscle cars and Alfa. He has no compacts or mid-size models, let alone ones that could compete, and the bloom is off the rose for the Fiat-based Jeeps. He has no cutting edge technology the Chinese would want, no competitive models outside of Jeep, and to top it off the company still has massive debt from Fiat. He has no chance to sell FCA to the Chinese, after GM and VW brushed him off - they're not that dumb. This is just a float, a last chance for a miracle before he has to part out the company.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Aug 16, 2017

      That sounds like pure prejudice, Lorenzo; the fiat products are very good but because of people like you that hold onto obsolete beliefs, Sergio CAN'T sell the true compact and mid-sized cars he has. As for the "bloom is off the rose for the Fiat-based Jeeps," I suggest you look again. Jeeps are all over the place and they're still among FCA's top sellers.

  • Art Vandelay I’d grab one of these if I’d spent my working life at GM for sure!
  • Analoggrotto The factory is delayed due to an investigation of a peter puffery ring lead by VoGhost, Tassos, EBFlex a Civic Type-R
  • FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First, EVs...next, grooming.
  • MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
  • Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.