Volvo XC60 REnlarge Photo
Ford is having trouble offloading its failing Volvo subsidiary but the company is determined to sell and in spite of the tough economic conditions still has several potential buyers. According to latest reports, however, a new group of Swedish businesses, called Konsortium Jakob AB, is aggressively raising funds for its own bid. There are even rumors that Volvo Truck Corp. has put money in the kitty, though the company denies it.
The information comes from Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri, which also reports that the engineers' trade union at Volvo has already spoken to the consortium about a possible takeover.
China’s Shenzhen News previously reported that Chinese automaker Geely had gone so far as to sign a letter of intent to purchase Volvo, citing several anonymous sources within the Chinese government. The source revealed that Geely and Ford were still nailing out the details, including the transfer of technology, Volvo's marketing and market position and possibly layoffs, and that the Chinese automaker hopes to start production of Volvo cars in a new factory in the Guangdong Province of China.
While other reports have suggested fellow Chinese automakers Dongfeng Motor Group, Beijing Auto and Chongqing Changan Automobile Co, as well as a European constellation, were all among the final bidders.
Volvo was looking almost unsellable just a few months ago but with the Swedish government announcing it is willing to back $572 million in loan guarantees for the automaker, the deal has been sweetened a little. Furthermore, a Chinese company could benefit greatly from acquiring Volvo, especially with the Swedish automaker’s research and development teams and reputation for safety, which so far has been lacking in most Chinese made cars. Volvo's North American dealership network could also prove attractive to emerging Chinese buyers in particular.
Incidentally, Ford bought Volvo for $6.45 billion back in 1999 and has since written down its value to less than $2.4 billion. With the state of the industry and the economy in general, however, the final sale price could be substantially lower.