‘Volvo production to remain in Sweden’: Geely

Chinese car maker Geely has declared its intention to keep Volvo production in Sweden after completing the purchase of the company from US auto giant Ford, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

“We want to be careful not to damage the Volvo brand,” Freeman Shen, Geely’s vice president for international operations, was quoted as saying.

“We don’t want the image of a luxury car made in a third world country. We want the image of a European luxury car, albeit owned by a Chinese owner.”

The Local reported last week on Geely’s plans to make Volvo profitable by 2011 by producing large numbers of cars at a factory in Beijing.

But the firm also stressed that it still wants to keep Volvo Cars’ production facilities, head office, and development division in Sweden.

Unions have previously expressed their concerns about Geely as Volvo’s new owner, both due to fears about jobs moving to China and because of the risk that suppliers may restrict Volvo’s access to the latest technology due to fears that it will be copied.

Ford, which bought Volvo in 1999, put the company up for sale in 2008.

The deal with Geely is set to be signed before China’s lunar new year holiday begins on February 14th, the Financial Times reported.

Volvo Cars has 22,000 employees worldwide, including 16,000 in Sweden. The deal with Geely has raised fears among trade union leaders of cuts at the firm.

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