Jeep's success in Japan is testimony to global brand power that is attracting acquisition interest from China and beyond. It also counters the notion that it's impossible to sell American vehicles there.
With the exception of a few major projects for its Jeep and Ram brands, FCA has slowed some product development activities while trying to hit aggressive financial targets for 2018 that the automaker set in 2014.
A fatal accident this week involving a Jeep Liberty has revived criticism from safety advocates that a federally sanctioned recall plan to keep the vehicle's fuel tank from igniting in rear-end crashes didn't go far enough to protect motorists.
If a Chinese buyer emerges for all or part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, it could face heightened scrutiny by U.S. security officials. That hurdle has increased under a Trump administration that has promoted economic nationalism and criticized China's trade policies.