Wednesday, December 17, 2008

(Possible) China Buyout Watch: Chrysler And Great Wall

By Bertel Schmitt
December 17, 2008 -

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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