Ford is looking towards one of China’s emerging car makers as a buyer for Volvo, as Ford desperately tries to streamline the firm’s global operations.
But while much of the speculation on a possible suitor for Volvo has focused on the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and Changan Automobile (which already produces a long-wheelbase version of the S80 for the Chinese market), Autocar has learned that rival Geely Automobile has shown interest in a controlling stake in the Swedish brand.
Geely personnel initially visited Volvo’s headquarters in Gothenburg in early 2008, following moves by Ford to dissolve its Premier Automotive Group - which included Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.
At the time, Geely was unprepared to pay the $6bn (£4bn) that Ford was asking for Volvo. But with Ford insiders now suggesting that Mulally is prepared to offload Volvo at a significantly lower price, talks between the two car makers have restarted.
One of the sticking points for any deal with a Chinese maker is the intellectual property agreements concerning the Ford-based platforms on which Volvos are based. Autocar sources say any buyer would be prohibited from using these platforms for any other brand.