For the past several years, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has made it widely known that the automaker he helms is up for grabs. First, he sent an email to GM CEO Mary Barra, who immediately refused to even discuss a merger. Later, Marchionne set his sights on Volkswagen. That too was swiftly rebuffed. It seemed like no global automaker was remotely interested in a partnership. Now, Automotive News reports that several Chinese automakers have come calling, only FCA isn't ready to answer. At least not yet.

The news broke this morning that a major Chinese automaker had made an offer to purchase FCA for slightly above market value. FCA refused, saying the offer wasn't quite generous enough. It's unclear which automaker made the offer, but Automotive News says there's more than one interested party. FCA representatives have recently traveled to China to meet with Great Wall Motors, while Chinese representatives were seen at FCA corporate headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The Chinese government has a lot of money invested in local automakers. It's putting pressure on these automakers to expand globally, including to the United States. As it stands, it's a matter of when a Chinese automaker will start selling cars here, not if. Purchasing an established automaker with a wide range of products and a huge dealer network would do wonders in giving the Chinese a foothold here. Sure, Geely owns Volvo, but a luxury automaker doesn't have nearly as much reach as a more mainstream company like FCA.

This seems like the best case scenario for both a Chinese automaker looking to move into the U.S. and for FCA, at least from a business standpoint. The latter doesn't seem to have any other interested parties. It will be interesting to see how FCA would sell a deal like this to the public. We're not sure everyone will be happy with Dodge, Jeep and Ram falling under Chinese ownership. FCA didn't turn down the Chinese because they didn't like the idea. It turned down the offer because there wasn't enough money on the table.

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