Chinese firms are favourite to buy Swedish maker from Ford
25 March 2009

Ford has admitted that several Chinese car companies are interested in buying Volvo – and revealed that no Western car makers are in the running to acquire the Swedish company.

Ford has been talking to what it describes as “a number of interested parties”, and has taken these talks to a new, more detailed level to discuss how Volvo could be separated from its parent company.

“A couple of the frontrunners are Chinese car firms,” a highly placed Ford insider told Autocar today. One of these companies is Geely, China’s first privately owned car firm, which is known to be keen to expand its influence beyond China and other developing markets. But none of the interested parties is a Western car manufacturer.

As it did with Jaguar and Land Rover, Ford wants the future owner of Volvo to demonstrate that it understands the culture of the company and would respect Volvo’s uniquely Swedish nature.

Many estimates of the price Ford would take for Volvo are wildly inaccurate, according to the source. “The $6bn (£4.1bn) that has been suggested is too high; we’d be expecting less than Tata paid for Jaguar Land Rover, because Volvo is not profitable and we’re in a recession. Around $1.2bn (£820m) is more accurate.”

The Ford insider also said that this is only the start of a process that could take over a year to conclude. "It could take as long as the JLR deal, and is unlikely to be before the end of the year.”

When Autocar contacted Ford, spokesman John Gardiner would only say that the company was in talks with "a number of interested parties."

Dan Stevens

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