Just about a month after China's Geely Automotive officially announced its interest in buying Volvo from Ford, a new contender has thrown its hat in the ring. This time, it's a U.S.-led group of buyers called the Crown consortium.

Interestingly, the Crown consortium is itself led by former Ford executive Shamel Rushwin and former Ford director Michael dingman, according to the Financial Times. That could weigh heavily in the Crown group's favor, as Ford hasn't been quick to move the Volvo brand to a China-based buyer.

The group is also very serious about the purchase, having already secured full funding through private equity groups. Additional backing is also being sought from Swedish investors as part of a confidence-building measure that the Crown consortium will keep Volvo in Sweden.

Geely isn't likely to back down from its bid, however. Two buyers bidding on the company could also prove beneficial to Ford in helping to boost the selling price somewhat beyond the sub-$2 billion price Geely is thought to be offering. Considering Ford paid about $6.45 billion for Volvo in 1999, it's going to be a heavy loss whatever the final sales price.

Sweden is also stepping up to the plate, offering $572 million in loan guarantees for Volvo, hoping to help entice new buyers into keeping the company within the country.

Dongfeng Motor Group, Beijing Auto and Chongqing Changan Automobile Co., are also thought to be considering bids for Volvo. The Jakob Consortium, led by the head of Volvo's engineers' union, is also interested in buying Volvo but so far has failed to secure sufficient funding.

[Financial Times]