Reports suggest execs are decided on sale: Ford spokeman says no
16 July 2007

According to various reports published over the weekend, Ford Motor Company board members have agreed a plan to include Volvo in the premium brand sell-off currently underway for sister brands Land Rover and Jaguar.Several weeks ago, Autocar.co.uk reported on the possibility that Volvo could be included in Ford’s ‘business reorganisation’ plans, naming BMW and Magna as potential interested buyers. Now, according to The Sunday Times, Ford execs have agreed in principle to sell the Swedish car-maker, and thereby totally disband the Premier Automotive Group (PAG) founded by ex-Ford boss Jacques Nasser.

”There’s no plan yet,” says Ford spokesman

The Times’ report quotes “city sources” who say that the decision was taken two weeks ago. However, Autocar has spoken exclusively to Ford spokesman John Gardiner, who assures us that's simply not the case.“Our position remains the same today as it has been for a few weeks; we’re not in discussion with any company, be it car maker or otherwise, about selling the Volvo Car Group. No such deal has been agreed with anyone, and no definite plan exists to sell.”“If that sort of plan had been agreed, we’d be required to give notice to the Securities and Exchange Commission, in New York; it’d be a material disclosure. No such notice has been given, and to the best of my knowledge, no decision has been made pertaining to the future ownership of Volvo Cars.”“We are continuing to assess a number of strategic options for the future of Ford, and we’ll bring forward news on that front if and when decisions have been made.”It’s also worth noting that, although bank Merril Lynch did recently value Volvo, PAG’s most profitable constituent, at nearly £4 billion, its sale would not generate as much cash for Ford as that. Volvo was mortgaged by Ford last year, in order to raise the capital necessary for Alan Mulally‘s recovery plan.

Jaguar and Land Rover: bids in this week

Meanwhile, any parties interested in buying Jaguar and Land Rover have until this Thursday (July 19) to submit their first bids. Subsequent rounds of bidding will then follow; “don’t expect a new owner to emerge for a while yet,” said Gardiner.

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