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Ford confirms Volvo sale agreement

Ford confirms Volvo sale agreement

Published: 23 Dec 2009 11:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Dec 2009 17:35 GMT+01:00

US auto giant Ford confirmed late on Wednesday morning that an agreement has been reached to sell Volvo Cars to Zhejiang Geely Holding. The deal is to be signed in the first quarter of 2010 and completed in the second quarter.

Ford said a definitive accord would be signed early in 2010 with Geely, a former refrigerator parts supplier that has grown into one of China's largest private car makers since launching its auto business in 1997.

"Ford Motor Company confirmed today that all substantive commercial terms relating to the potential sale of Volvo Car Corporation have been settled between Ford and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group," Ford said in a statement.

The US company said it expected "a definitive sale agreement will be signed in the first quarter of 2010, subject to appropriate regulatory approvals."

The number-two US car maker said work still remained before finalising the deal, including "final documentation, financing, and government approvals."

The accord marks the first major inroad by a Chinese company into Europe's auto industry and would give Volvo access to China, now the biggest car market in the world after the economic crisis hit sales in the United States.

Chinese car makers have launched an expansion drive this year amid upheaval in the global auto industry, with heavy machinery maker Tengzhong agreeing in October to buy the luxury Hummer brand from US giant General Motors.

State-owned Beijing Automotive Industry Holding (BAIC) meanwhile has failed in its bids for GM units Saab and Opel but earlier this month worked out a major deal to purchase the intellectual property rights for some Saab assets.

Ford said the Geely deal would provide Volvo, which employs 22,000 people worldwide, with the resources "to further strengthen the business and build its global franchise."

Geely said in a statement that Volvo would retain its leadership in safety and environmental technologies "should a stock purchase take place."

It also noted that Volvo "will be uniquely positioned as a world leading premium brand to exploit opportunities in the fast growing China market."

According to reports in Swedish media and the Financial Times, the price of the transaction will be around $2 billion, less than a third of what Ford had paid for Volvo in 1999.

Ford, which unlike its US rivals General Motors and Chrysler did not take US government aid to cope with falling sales and managed to avoid bankruptcy this year, had put Volvo up for sale in December 2008.

The biggest question in Wednesday's deal was how Geely was going to manage the image of the Swedish brand, known for its sturdy, high-performance cars, said Global Insight's Bertrand Rakoto.

"It would be better ... that Volvo not take a Chinese brand image, because Volvo is a semi-premium carmaker ... for whom image is very important," the analyst told AFP.

News of a Chinese owner for Volvo was received cautiously in Sweden, where the brand was launched in 1927 and has 16,000 employees.

"This is an additional step in the process before the sale is finalised. There are still many important questions to be resolved and it is a complicated sales process," Swedish Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson told news agency TT.

"There remains a lot to do on the Chinese side," she added.

The head of a Volvo trade union in the company's western Swedish home city of Gothenburg said it was still unclear how Geely wanted to get the loss-making brand to turn a profit.

"It is still unclear what Geely wants out of this agreement, and that makes me worried," Sören Carlsson, head of Unionen, told TT.

"Even though our sales are rising, Volvo Cars still operates at a loss. How Geely wants to solve that, we don't know," he added.

News on the Volvo sale comes as another Swedish automaker, Saab, faces uncertainty about its future.

Its parent company, General Motors, said last week it was shutting down the iconic marque after breaking off sales talks with Dutch sportscar maker Spyker.

But Skyper then made a last-ditch bid for the loss-making brand, which it extended indefinitely hours before it was due to expire Monday.

Spyker chief executive Victor Muller told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet he was "working under a very difficult timeline" to reach a deal with GM, which set December 31 as the limit for a potential sale or wind down.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:58 December 23, 2009 by Roy E
It's a dark day for Volvo , its employees, and enthusiasts.
12:16 December 23, 2009 by Mo
tragedy, how long before the whole plant is dismantled, packed up & shipped to China ?
12:31 December 23, 2009 by SuperDuperE
As one of the few countries in the world that understands the importance of GROWTH, I predict that Volvo will flourish under Chinese ownership.
12:44 December 23, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
If Geely is smart (given that it is not run by US auto executives, there is a chance they are) Geely will invest in Volvo to keep/get the cars at the leading edge of technology.

They will let the engineering filter down to they Geely product line to help improve the status of ther product at home and drive sales. I would expect that they will eventually build a new low end mass market Volvo in China for the domestic/asian market.

Eventually China will supply the world markets with the low end Volvo range cars and Sweden will supply the high cost low volume prestige cars with China being the largest export market for those models.

or they will strip factories and move everything to China :)
12:48 December 23, 2009 by abbyrovenn
My worst fears were realized. I was enthusiastically looking forward to buy a Volvo, but now its all gone! I hope Ford will burn in hell for putting Volvo into the hands of Chinese. And for that, I will not buy a Ford or any of other brands under their ownership. This is a good example of Amaricans not giving a dime about any other heritage than their own.

There are car companies which require you to own one of their products previously to own a new one. Shame that such practices are not applicable into acquisitions. Or maybe you should at least selling fridge parts to be considered as a qualified bidder.
12:54 December 23, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
@abbyrovenn

Racist ? or !
12:54 December 23, 2009 by Random Guy
unless u sweds will work for 5sek per hour,20 hrs per day,6days a week, then pack it all up & move ti china
12:56 December 23, 2009 by abbyrovenn
@Renfeh Hguh

Racist towards Amaricans or Chinese? Hahahaha... Funny..
12:57 December 23, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Chinese certainly, Americans perhaps :)
13:00 December 23, 2009 by abbyrovenn
@Renfeh Hguh

Nah. Sorry if I sound racist. I am Asian living in Sweden. I love my host country and its heritage just as I love my own country. In all fairness I don't think the sale will work to the betterment of Sweden and its Iconic brand Volvo. And thats why I am disappointed.
13:20 December 23, 2009 by bjinger
some commentations above are either ignorant or arrogant.

1, Who else really cares about Volvo except Geely. Just see those so-called consortiums and former directors' tricks.

2, I think Geely wishes Volvo stand up again but that all depends on the local workforce competence and its business strategy.

3, It is in evidence that Volvo has been sick for quite a long time systematicaly and strategicaly. Volvo needs a change, a new Volvo that consumers wish it to be.

4,Whether Volvo produces low end or high end car, it all depends on what Volvo can do and what the consumer expect from it. At present, Volvo car equals low competence and going bankruptcy.
13:31 December 23, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Unless you are Chinese, the comment could be still considered racist.

Both Volvo and Saab need "sugar daddys" who are willing to invest in the brands like the way Tata has done with Jaguar. Under Ford management, Jaguar built cars that looked only backwards at their heritige and the brand was slowly dieing along with their customers (of old age). I loved my Fathers Jag XJ6 when I was a teen and then 30 years on they looked the same and always felt like something my father and not me would buy. Now under Tata Jag is showing great promise.

I think (hope) Geely will be smart enough to know that simply moving Volvo to China for lower costs will kill the good will Volvo has as an international brand.

I think that besides investing in current models due for upgrades that Geely will commission their volvo engineers to develop a new smaller Volvo "S10" to compete with cars like the Fiat 500 or Smart and be built in China for first the domestic market and when the build quality is up to scratch, then the world markets.

Maybe to combine Volvo and Geely's common heritage, Volvo will introduce a new "retro" model and recreate the 245GL. They were shaped like fridges laying on the side and probably drove like a fridge. I never drove a fridge but I did learn to drive in a 245 ;)
13:34 December 23, 2009 by Roy E
Yep, From the folks who brought you Tianamen Square, internet censorship, a free Tibet (not) , and political prisoners you can now buy a Volvo! Sweet! It's nice to know that Volvo is now aligned with those striving to make a better world. And yes, that is sarcasm.
13:50 December 23, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
As opposed to it's former owner who was one of the last country to abolish slavery and fought a civil ware about it, only country to use nuclear weapons, sponsored cou'de tas and installed friendly dictators, armed countries and rebel groups who later became their enemies and invaded countries under false pretences.

:)
13:57 December 23, 2009 by livinginsweden
Maybe when the Chinese take over Volvo .... the car will not spontaneously explode ... and get a better quality at a better price ..... ... maybe if the Volvo workers change its mentality and work with the chinese to make volvo a world conquering car ..... that both swedish and chinese workers can be proud of ... volvo will survive on the long term .... and not become a has been low quality junk that nobody want to buy like those chrysler and gm steel junks....

Hopefully volvo will be a top selling car in china and its sales volume pass the critical level where it can make enough profit, with enough money to do more research and sell more car and make more profit and make more new cars and sell more cars, etc...

ha ha
14:12 December 23, 2009 by home alone
Perhaps I am missing something. I don't remember GM and Ford demanding that Saab And Volvo sell there interests in the company. Sweden decided that was good business. Now Ford had decided that selling Volvo is good business. Large corporations are in the business of business.
14:13 December 23, 2009 by uffia
Do you know how many Audi has been sold in China this year? 150,000.

If Geely bought Volvo, I think the Chinese government is willing to help by designating Volvo as government cars. That's a huge market in China.

Geely has a very good business plan such as developing more upper-scale, bigger Volvo to compete with Audi, BMW, and MB. Volvo will eat German luxury cars' lunch for sure.
14:35 December 23, 2009 by livinginsweden
@ Roy E

is it a dark day for volvo or western countries as you know it?

@ MO

Tragedy ... for whom? not for volvo employees .... yes ownership means you can do what you f** want to ... that is capitalism ...

@abbyrovenn

Yr worst fears are realized? volvo workers' worst fears (like that of Saab) thankfully are not realized. There are still a lot of white american made junk of steel available .... the ones that the red necks love cruising in ....

I did not realized that people who buy cars look for the labels that say:

''Made In a White Country by White Factory Workers who eat in Canteens Served by Black Slaves and pee in Toilets washed by Black Slaves and live in a country with a White President Obbs Black President.'''

ha ha
14:51 December 23, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
@livinginsweden

I'm sure Roy E never buys anything made in China ;)
15:01 December 23, 2009 by rumcajs
If Geely keeps the Volvo good ( YES, GOOD ) quality and safety standards and the production in Sweden.... fine. The problem I see here is that no1 will buy their 1st Chinese Volvo untill someone else does it 1st and can make sure the quality is ok.... not sure how many of those 1st brave souls are around there.

@livinginsweden

Who told you that Volvos are low quality junk? Your dentist, doctor, the barman who's never had a Volvo? That is NOT true. I am into cars and many members of my family have been mechanics for decades; and believe me, in any garage you get the same or less number of Volvos and SAAB's with problems as BMW's, VW's, Renault, and most of other not-troubled brands. They simply do not sell cos most of people find a more "attractive" option lastly.

In MY opinion, which might be wrong, Volvo's problem is that they are somewhere between a posh brand and a budget car and most of buyers are one thing or the other, but nothing in between. They have a lot of things you cannot find in a Skoda or a Fiat, but do not have the NAME AND FAME of other brands like BMW and the price is somewhere in between. So, most of people who like cars and have a money go for the brand and the ones who want a budget car go for a real budget one. That leaves VOLVO with just a few pot. buyers from which we still have to forget about the ones who don't wanna listen to some "know nothing - talk much" friends say "ohhh nooo, don't buy that junk, everybody says thau are bad", but Mr Everybody is someone who says a lot of b***s***t all the time.
15:37 December 23, 2009 by texasgubbar
"Yep, From the folks who brought you Tianamen Square, internet censorship, a free Tibet (not) , and political prisoners you can now buy a Volvo! "

Well you prefer the folks who brought you the invasion and occupation of Iraq? the burning alive of 82 by the government, many children and women in Waco? slave labor in places like Saipan?

For every wart you find for the Chinese you can find for americans, just ask the native native americans.

BTW Ford also let the iconic English brand Jaguar go to the Indians. I think they will do a fine job with it since Jarguars were starting to look like pimped out Fords. I think Volvo will do fine under the Chinese. It may not be ideal for Swedish workers but it will beat complete shutdown by a long way, just ask Saab workers.
16:10 December 23, 2009 by Roy E
Texasgubbar,

It's just amusing to watch how people so eager to strike an impotent self-righteous pose in the name of social justice and human rights behave when there's real money involved.

reality bites.
16:32 December 23, 2009 by planethero
I just heard it is to be renamed "vohvo", easier to say.
16:43 December 23, 2009 by calebian22
"It (Geely)also noted that Volvo "will be uniquely positioned as a world leading premium brand to exploit opportunities in the fast growing China market."

Goodbye Swedish based factories, for anyone reading between the lines.
16:45 December 23, 2009 by texasgubbar
Volvo and Saab were both considered upscale at one time. However, the Japanese brands Lexus, Accura and Infiniti were developed in the 80's and with the obvious German makes, took that market higher while Volvo and Saab basically stayed the same. Compare a top level Lexus to the top level Volvo. So they were brought down to the Honda, Toyota, Nissan etc etc market, and they cannot compete there. Volvos were once considered much better than a Honda Accord, no more. Plus Volvo - Saab have no entry level cars in that market. The C30 is a joke. Toyota understand perfectly the kid who is happy with his Yaris will be the executive buying the Lexus. The product development was completely blind, build the same thing over and over, actually the total opposite of the visionary development Swedish companies are known for... Ikea comes to mind.

Their only path is to become a niche brand, which can be done, look at Suburu.
16:56 December 23, 2009 by Engine20
I really think Ford sold Volvo to the wong company..... Ha Ha As a Volvo and SAAB owner (87' 240, 90' 900 Turbo and 63' Model 96) They both quit making cars as far as I am concerned in 1993 when the last 240 and the last 900 rolled off the line. Within my family we owned several late model Volvos (after Ford got a hold of them) other than the fact that the air conditioner worked well the cars were constantly in the shop. Not for major stuff but it was always something all the time. I would have rather seen Volvo go out of business than have the ching chongs own them. I have a 52' MG as well and I still have nightmares the chinks will revive the MG marque. A chink car with a MG emblem on it....... That would be a nightmare. We are ALL loosing our heritage. Here in the States more specifically, Texas, We are overrun by Mexicans. Well, Texas basically IS mexico now. Sweden do yourself a favour... stop immigration of non Europeans. Especially muslims before its too late. The US is already so contaminated it too late. Im headed for Iceland. To much water for the mexicans to swim across.......ha ha
17:05 December 23, 2009 by texasgubbar
As a resident of Texas I am embarrassed by the redneck ramblings of Engine20. How he found this website is a mystery to me, but I suppose thelocal pops up when you search on skinhead, my sister is my mother or aryan botherhood.

Its funny that while you have your ignorant rant about the chinese taking Volvo you complain about the Ford versions.
18:54 December 23, 2009 by livinginsweden
@Engine20

Texas was Mexico's and before than Indians ... until the gringo who speak with forked tongue arrived and took the land ..

ha ha
18:57 December 23, 2009 by pisaier
Strongly doubt the profitability of Volvo, no matter who is the owner. Is there anyone bet his pension on it? The brand does not mean as much as 20 years ago. Too bad swed strategy and mindset.
19:31 December 23, 2009 by fridayz
@Engine20

Has Iceland turned to a destination for Psychos ? Check for a suitable psychologist before you go... enable to prescribe your medicine :)))))))))))))))))))
19:35 December 23, 2009 by livinginsweden
To those who will not buy a Volvo made by the chinese .... are you going to stop using your mobile phones in Sweden too becos telia telenor and tele2 have just given the mutli-billion contract to implement G4 mobile to hwahei a chinese company and cut out erricsson ....

The chinese are going to be in you face ... whether you like it or not

ha ha
19:41 December 23, 2009 by krigeren
American car companies, having worked for one, are largely ran by idiots.

Its great that Swedish car companies are out from under the yoke of Americans.

The east is catching up and its their turn. How hard is it to compete against us lazy, couch surfing westerners, supporting a bloated infrastructure?

Geely will be good for the brand. Whether that means good for Sweden is another story all together.
19:51 December 23, 2009 by Scotsaab
Interesting how Ford slipped this one in fairly quietly - but good for the future of Volvo. Ford did well by the brand and allowed them to turn out good cars free from the kind of interference and dumbing-down that GM haunted on Saab.

I'm no lover of the US big business model but salute Ford for their commitment to Volvo over the years. Geely is a relative new kid on the Chinese industrial scene but I suspect they will continue Ford's nurturing. They want Volvo's technology, its presige and its history. They'd be stupid to upset that balance - and the Chinese are anything but stupid!
20:01 December 23, 2009 by Run Malmö
Commies! You want it, you got it!
20:04 December 23, 2009 by EtoileBrilliant
Volvo was always designed as the "people's car". When they lost touch with the mass market and searched for a higher class of buyer that's when the wheels came off so to speak. They should have stick around the price level of a VW's Passat or Golfs. They will never compete with BMW and Merc except as an oddity brand (although they are are on a par for build quality according to JD Power9.

Why blame Ford for this troubled company's woes? What were they supposed to do with a loss making subsidiary - keep on throwing good money after bad?
20:10 December 23, 2009 by livinginsweden
@Run Malmo

C'mon hide under your bed .. the commies are coming!!!!

Are you serious? Are you still scared of commies ... goes to show .. if one say it enough times .. they become scared and believe it ... I suppose you believe in god too.

ha ha hide your daughters .. the commies are coming to rape them!!!!

Rum Malmo run ..... ..... looks like you need to run for the rest of your life .... becos the commies and chinese are coming!!!!!!

The commies are coming and forcing us to eat rice ... starting at the Volvo factory ... fried rice for everyone at lunch time, more fried rice at diner time ... no more coffee breaks .. only black chinese tea.....

Next Christmas lunch .. no more swedish meat balls and potatoes ... dog balls and friend rice!!!!

Herregod!!!!

Oh my GOd run run run!!!
20:24 December 23, 2009 by zircon
I quite like Chinese snobs... Their eyes are extremely beautiful, when painted, and their males have that same look... Especially when rich.
20:34 December 23, 2009 by lingonberrie
Volvo started going downhill when "Fix Or Repair Daily" took over ownership ( as in Jaguar's case as well) .

Perhaps China will restore or improve Volvo as the Japanese did with their automobiles for a decade or so, as was proven by the high volume of sales of Japanese automobiles when the Americans realized that there was an alternative to their big three junk.
21:57 December 23, 2009 by Kevgio
it baffles me when u read people from the company that say we dont know how we will be able to make the volvo brand turn a profit....that will be easy. in time staff will be cut, more and more production will be moved to china and then the profits will rise again. the prices for these cars are premium and so are the labour costs. once labour costs come down they will be profiting again with the brand, simmple economics. manufacturing is dead in the western world unless u have a unique failproof product.
22:51 December 23, 2009 by swarfer
Volvo survives and that's all that counts. Who owns a company anyway when there are millions of shares of stock. Americans and Swedes will just have to get over their humiliation. To make things worse, the Chinese will be driving Volvos while the rest of will be driving Fords. Ironic that a communist state knows how to take advantage of a great car company while the capitalists fall all over themselves trying to dump it. Our stupidity, incompetence and arrogance will impoverish is all.
03:04 December 24, 2009 by BrielleI
I just hope that they have done a good action with this.
03:06 December 24, 2009 by BrielleI
I just hope that they have done a good action with this. Anyways, I was thinking of buying a car and a new house. But I think I would buy first the house because right now is a great time to buy a home or other property, as mortgage lenders and real estate brokers are desperate to get back to somewhere close to normal. However, that's no excuse to find the best mortgage rates. Shop for loan lenders, and find out what types of loans you qualify for, and what kind of rates you can get. A 30 year fixed is the best, but an interest only loan or adjustable rate loan are to your benefit if you don't plan to hold the property long.
03:33 December 24, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
I wonder what the social progressive, liberal righteous yuppies in the US will drive now!!??!!

Certainly they can't drive a human rights suppressing, commie, chinese built, rolling lead infection around while putting out the elitist vibe at the local art gallery wine tasting event. Can they, or does this mean we've just come full circle?

Have the communists outdone us at being capitalists? I think so.
03:40 December 24, 2009 by spy
Poor Volvo, it seems the savages will own them after all - I wish them luck!

However it has to be said Ford are a lot better at managing companies and seeling them than GM. . .
05:04 December 24, 2009 by uffia
livinginsweden,

While reading your post, I can't help laughing out loud. You are a funny man.
06:16 December 24, 2009 by zhqwang
I am chinese teacher.I think that you are anxious for this deal. V-G is model of swedish-china. I will buy V car if G buy V.
09:39 December 24, 2009 by bjinger
Geely helps Volvo brand in its sustainability.
10:25 December 24, 2009 by Hairdont
Regarding the big three American car companies:

Consumer rating groups like Consumer Reports have at least since the late 80s rated most American cars as substandard. I personally have no friends or relatives who have any sense of national pride for a car brand. Everyone would like to "buy American" but more and more that meant overpriced and poorly made cars. Of course you have the show-offs who get the big Escalade, but I don't think it's brand loyalty that attracts them. Who else produces urban assault vehicles like the big 3?

Anyway, now little brother Sweden will have a new older brother that they can love/hate. Business as usual.
15:14 December 24, 2009 by uffia
How to make Volvo profitable? It's both simple and complex.

First, Volvo must go upscale to compete with luxury German cars like Audi and BMW to afford Swedish high cost. Volvo also has to come up with more new models to compete with VW and Toyota. To achieve this, Volvo needs an owner with deep pockets and a big and growing market. Geely of China just in time comes to rescue. I am quite optimistic about the future of Volvo.
15:32 December 24, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
@hHairDont

It's clear you know very little about the car industry, or have been out of the game for the past 20 years.

The fact is, American cars for the past 10 years or so have been on par or better in safety, price, build quality reliablity than thier European or Japanese marqued counterparts. The problem is, American car companies have to shake thier 1970's-80'-90's image, the one you are familiar with. With varying success they have been able to do that.

The pony trick with Volvo and somewhat Saab is that in scandinavia, they are viewed as everyman's cars. Where, outside, they are marketed as luxury cars, on par with MB or BMW. That's a hard act to swing.

Disclaimer: I'm formerly a Chevy guy (buy 'merican, right?), now Subaru, and tempted at Ford, in recognition of thier superior management.
17:42 December 24, 2009 by texasgubbar
"American cars for the past 10 years or so have been on par or better in safety, "

Maybe so but the models made are as distinctive as jello. And for some reason they insist on selling the ugliest models in the US. The Ford Mondeo is a very nice looking car. The Ford Fusion or Mercury Milan (a true insult to Milan) are true rental car material.

Chysler and Cadillac hava attempted some type of distinctiveness with the gangsta pimpsled look. Other models are tired remakes of 1960's hot rod models. I suppose they figure the 16 yo then is now a balding 50 something trying to relive his youth. It wont be too many years before the Mustangs, Camaros and Chargers look tired and old like their owners.
03:28 December 25, 2009 by Davey-jo
So Chinese Communism takes over Ford's capitalism? History really is bunk!
12:25 December 25, 2009 by himilo
I suprised negative people comments on the local.se is this caused by immigrants comming to sweden? NO this is global failure. so please stop bad comments to immigrants. and start salvation strugle for our future economic

himilo
15:00 December 25, 2009 by morchad
"And the target of "exporting 2/3 of its products "will be realized through 15 production bases Geely will be setting up overseas by that time." - Geely Website

........ I see the opposite happening...... Torslanda will not alone stay but expand to produce Geely cars also.

Chinese communism seems to be flourishing while American capitalism isn't
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Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

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