Ford itself recently tipped Geely as the leading bidder for the Volvo brand, but that may change if the Crown Consortium has its way. Led by former Ford executives, Crown re-submitted its bid for the Swedish marque this week.

Geely's bid for Volvo is thought to be around the $1.8 billion mark, somewhat short of the $2.45 billion valuation claimed by Ford, but considering the weak global marketplace for autos, that's not surprising.

It's not yet known what Crown might be offering in its bid, or what revisions were made to its earlier proposal this week, but according to a report from Reuters, the new offer is expected to get some attention. The group is 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.

Sources close to the Crown bid claim that it is "on par" with the Geely bid, but what that means in reality is unclear. One thing that's become readily apparent over the last several months as General Motors has tried, and in the case of Saturn, failed, to sell its brands is that small groups need absolutely rock-solid funding and agreements before anything can be considered final.

The sale of Volvo, should it move forward, will mark the elimination of the final vestige of Ford's Premiere Auto Group (PAG). Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover were all once part of the PAG, but were sold off over the last three years as Ford realigned its structure.

Looking to the near future, if Geely gets the bid and buys Volvo, the Chinese company already has plans for three new models. It's not yet known what might happen under the Crown Consortium's leadership.

[Reuters]