Volvo Loses $151m in First Quarter. Any Takers?

volvo loses 151m in first quarter any takers

In years past, Ford resolutely refused to report earnings for the individual brands in its Premium Auto Group (PAG) (Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston, Volvo and, for ten minutes, Lincoln). And for good reason. The brainchild of former BMW suit and bon vivant Wolfgang Reitzle, PAG has been a financial sinkhole since day one. Now that Jag and Landie's gone to Tata Motors and Aston's been flogged to an unholy alliance of a Texan and the Kuwaitis, PAG consists of… Volvo. And today, for the first time ever, FoMoCo's broken out earnings in the Volvo unit. And the news ain't good. Yahoo!Finance reports that a year ago, Volvo posted a $94m profit in the first quarter. This year, they had a first quarter pretax loss of $151m. So why, when Volvo was making money, didn't they brag about it? And why, now that it's losing money, do they disclose the fact? It's just one more indication that Ford is building a case to justify putting Volvo on the auction block a la Jag and Land Rover. Adjö Volvo.

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  • Ingvar Ingvar on Apr 24, 2008

    The issue with the Swedish government is a non-issue. It just won't happen. It is as likely as GM delivering the Volt on time and under budget. A much more plausible scenario is Ford selling Volvo to someone that actually has a long-term interest in owning that brand. And that means a car maker that lacks a near-luxury premium brand in that magnitude. Like Renault/Nissan or Citroen/Peugeot. Or perhaps Tata? Tata has high-end cars and low-end cars but nothing in between. Volvo has a reputation as a solid seller in the US. That would give Tata a bigger foot in the US market. Or perhaps the best proposition for Ford is not to sell, but invest? Volvo is not in bad shape, it just lacks proper resources in the r&d and marketing divisions.

  • Lichtronamo Lichtronamo on Apr 24, 2008

    Volvo's problem isn't a lack of investment - its a lack of purpose. Everyone sells safety now, so what does Volvo do to distinguish itself (See Ford DW 44)?

  • Cammy Corrigan Cammy Corrigan on Apr 25, 2008

    If Ford put Volvo up for sale, there's one party who, I reckon, would snap them up in an instant. Mahindra and Mahindra. Think about it, they failed in their bid for Jaguar (so they clearly want a luxury brand) so reigniting talks with Ford, shouldn't be a problem, M&M have a good diesel history, as does Volvo, it would give M&M a springboard into the Indian market of selling rugged cars for rugged roads, if they let the Swedish engineers do their job again and M&M also have deep pockets (they must do to launch a bid for Jaguar) so they'll clearly look after them. All that, plus a platform into America. I can't think of a better owner.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Apr 25, 2008
    Volvo’s problem isn’t a lack of investment - its a lack of purpose. Everyone sells safety now, so what does Volvo do to distinguish itself (See Ford DW 44)? Exactly. "Near luxury" is no longer an effective branding position, at least here in the US. All of the near-luxury brands (Volvo, Saab, Buick, Acura) are faltering here. Mahindra and Mahindra. Think about it, they failed in their bid for Jaguar (so they clearly want a luxury brand) That's the problem -- Volvo isn't a luxury brand. In the right hands, and with careful effort, Jag and Land Rover have considerable potential. They will always be low volume cars, but they could generate considerable margins if they can each get a popular model or two. Volvo, not so much. Unless Volvo can be morphed into a BMW/Mercedes/Lexus beater, it has no chance. Otherwise, it's doomed to stay as a niche maker, but it can't sell enough cars for prices that are high enough to carry their overhead. I'm not saying that the Swedes would buy it, but Volvo would have little appeal to anyone else. Certainly not to Toyota, GM, Cerberus, Renault-Nissan, FIAT, VAG, Daimler or BMW. I would agree that a Russian, Chinese or Indian upstart might be a better candidate, but there is not much "there" there to encourage anyone. We'll see how it goes.

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