Ford Shopping Volvo To Renault and Dongfeng. Or Not.
Last we heard, Ford tried to shop Volvo to China's SAIC. Now Automotive News [AN. sub] reports that The Blue Oval Boys are trying to [s]dump[/s] sell its troubled Swedish division [s]on[/s] to Renault. We now learn that initial talks with Renault began last fall. But those broke down over "price differences" (as in Ford thought Volvo was worth something). Apparently, talks have now resumed. Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has said on numerous occasions that he's looking for a partner in the American market. Someone. Anyone. GM? Chrysler? So, why not Volvo? You know, other than the fact the brand's only successful U.S. product– the XC series SUVs– just rolled-over and died. Of course, Ford continues to deny Volvo's on the auction block. "We are focused on improving Volvo's business results," says FoMoCo spinmeister Mark Truby. Meanwhile, AN says that Ford is also talking with Dongfeng Motor Group. With Ford burning cash, and credit in short supply, expect a Volvo sale as soon as a sufficiently gullible partner is found.
"You know, other than the fact the brand's only successful U.S. product– the XC series SUVs– just rolled-over and died." Whats happened to the XC90?
One complicating factor - Volvo was one of the assets Ford put up for that mega-loan. carlos.negros: Renault knows how to build economical, small, fun cars. Ford does not (at least in the U.S. market). But Renault can't sell them in the U.S. market, because very few people would touch anything with the Renault name on it, based on the company's last disastrous foray into the American market (18i? Fuego? Alliance? Encore?). And European Fords are head-and-shoulders above their Renault competitors.
Volvo sales are severely hampered due to the outdated Ford engine technology under the hood which gives poor fuel economy. Volvo's tend to be heavy and Ford has no US diesel - bad combo. If Renault/Nissan was to put their high-tech economical engines into Volvo's, it would open up a whole new market for them. Also, with smaller engines I'm betting it'd be easier to generate the 5 star ratings as weight loss and packaging space have a cascading benefit.