The Wall Street Journal reports that the Crown group, which includes former Ford Executives Michael Dingman and Shamel Rushwin as well as former Volvo CEO Roger Holtback, are still in the hunt to buy Volvo Cars from Ford, or at least they like to think they are! Ford has been keeping these guys on the back burner behind Geely and told Crown to come back when they had money lined up. Guess what, Crown now says their “offer is fully funded and includes participation by Swedish investors … two adjustments aimed at making the offer more attractive to Ford in the sale of the Swedish operation.”
Interestingly, both Geely and Crown are eager to grow Volvo’s Chinese sales. “The Crown consortium, similar to Geely, is looking closely at options to expand Volvo’s presence in China—a key growth market for auto makers from around the world. The people said the Crown consortium, if successful, will consider joining with Chinese auto makers to build Volvo’s China business. The consortium includes a China-focused merchant-banking firm, the Balloch Group, which will help coordinate the group’s China strategy if it is successful, according to these people.”
Of course, the Journal’s reporting is all based on “people familiar with the situation.” Way back when, Ford outfoxed GM in the bidding for Volvo. GM ended up buying Saab in a pique of revenge. Now the game is being played in reverse. Somehow I suspect Ford is going to get the better of GM again this time. Even if everyone still loses.