Chinese Media: Volvo Bought By Geely

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

The usually quite reliable Chinacartimes has it from the not always reliable auto.sohu.com that Ford and Geely have reached a deal for Volvo. According to Sohu, the Chinese-owned Volvo will put a production line into Dongguan City in Guangdong Province, one of China’s rustbelts. Supposedly, the first Geely owned Volvo is a XC90 SUV.

As BS lacks the necessary puthongua, Ms. Zhang, my trusted Chinese adjutant, translated the Sohu report as follows:


The rumor might finally become true. Geely has signed a letter of intent with Volvo about buying Volvo. The new Volvo will land in Dongguan. The first car type made in China will be the XC. Both parties will have more negotiations about employee reductions, product range, technology transfer. Experts say that Geely should focus on how to operate the Volvo brand once purchased.

In 1999, Ford spent $6.49 billion for Volvo. It was their attempt to enter the high-end market of Europe. However, Volvo always ran at a loss. According to some analysts, the market value of Volvo is already less than $3b. The actual purchase price might be lower than $1.5 billion.

Experts say, Ford cannot sustain the losses by Volvo. Ford is trying hard to survive itself in a competitive landscape. Ford has no energy left for Volvo. In the economic crisis, GM and Chrysler received a new lease on life through bankruptcy. Ford wants to do something similar: Sell Volvo to gain some urgently needed cash.

A reporter who contacted top management of Geely heard that Geely indeed had close contacts with Volvo regarding this matter. Geely has also conducted a large amount of market research. The new Volvo project will land in Dongguan, where it already has been approved by local government. Geely expects a loan guarantee of RMB8b ($1.17 billion).

The XC90 will be the first car type. The price of the China made XC90 should be reduced by 40 percent. If everything goes smoothly, the project will be ready for use on 2010 or 2011.

Things are murky, and the official wire services are silent. A “local government” approval won’t do. In China, if a deal costs more than $100 million, then it needs to be approved by the central government. If it is below $100 million, a permit from the provincial government is required. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange also looks at all overseas investments by Chinese companies.

We will follow the story and keep you posted as things develop.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Eggsalad Eggsalad on Jun 29, 2009

    Geo. Levecque : What is this "double floor" to which you refer? I still drive a 240, I've had several, and each one only had one floor.

  • Clint879 Clint879 on Jan 11, 2010

    The article and the post sound like it is a done deal, it looked as if the swedish press is not viewing it that way. How is this all going to end up playing out? The consortium Crown now makes a request to Ford to be let in to proper negotiations to acquire Volvo Cars. “We offer a better alternative for Volvo Cars and its employees than Geely. Ford should, at the earliest possible date, allow Crown to participate in the negotiations”, says Roger Holtback, previous CEO for Volvo Cars and advisor to Crown.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCBeen to Vancouver many times headed to Whistler Blackcomb to go cross county skiing and snowboarding. Beautiful place awesome snowboarding.
  • Lou_BC While we discuss Chinese cars, Chinese politics, and Chinese global desires, I'm looking at TTAC and Google display advertising for Chinese tires. They have nukes aimed at us but their money and products are acceptable to consumers and business?
  • TheTireWhisperer And a thankful Memorial day to all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Take some time today to realize that virtually zero soldiers had died defending your border.
  • Tassos As somebody who is NOT a stupid fanatic about EVs one way or the other:No manufacturer has built a "Better Tesla" EV yet. Most have tried, we wait for TOyota only (last hope for the Tesla haters)UNLESS a DIRT CHEAP Model 2 comes along (will never happen in the next 2 or 3 years), Do NOT expect that 7% to go to even 10%, let alone the ... 30% clueless Idiot Joe Biden voters expect. If anything, PLUG INS and HYBRIDS may, in the SHORT term, bring the 7% down.
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