Swedish Consortium to Guzump Geely's Volvo Bid?
A group calling itself Consortium Jacob AB is making a last-minute play to keep the Volvo brand out of Chinese hands. The alt. Geely newbies consist mainly of Swedish owners, fronted by former Volvo CEO Roger Holtback. Despite the late entry into the auction, Ford has promised to treat the all [mostly?] Swedish bid seriously. The Swedish government’s “manager for affairs of the automotive industry” at the Industry Dept., Jöran Hägglund, gave the group the green light. Allegedly, Volvo’s union of engineers got the ball rolling. So, now, show me the money . . .
The progress to secure funding is “ongoing.” We’re talking SEK 15 billion up front, with as much as SEK 20-25 billion all in. The new group is seeking funds from Volvo employees in Sweden and Belgium (two month’s pay please) and Sweden’s Volvo dealers. Handelsbanken (Commerse Bank) has already promised to provide loans to employees at Volvo who want a piece of the paj.
Former parent company Volvo AB has also expressed interest in the deal, pledgingup to SEK 2 billion. Vattenfall—already in a joint venture collaboration with Volvo on hybrids—has also been being mentioned as a possible partner.
According to Industry Daily, Roger Holtback, who was CEO of Volvo PV 1984-1991 and Vice President of AB Volvo 1990-1991, plays a central role in the bidding process He’s been fingered as the potential president of Volvo PV. The current CEO Stephen Odell may remain in his post. You know, if any of this actually happens.
I would love to see Volvo return to its Swedish roots and pursue a uniquely Scandinavian point of view in automotive design and manufacturing. The automotive world would be a lesser place today if Volvo had never existed.
I don't think Geely has too much of a chance here. Geely is not a state owned auto maker (i.e. unlike GM or SAIC), and thus does not have direct access to the Chinese government's money printer. And that's why it has the government's easy approval. The best Geely can do is a low ball offer. If they have serious buck, the money may speak. But they don't.
My gut badly wants Volvo to return to its Swedish roots. (The photo with this blog is wonderful!) My intellect says I don't know nearly enough about the details of this to have an opinion. But I agree with John Horner's assessment.
Hey, where did you get that pic of my '60 544? Looks blue (red when I enlarge, though) in that light and has no hubcaps, just like mine. Brings back a lot of memories. First car, loved it, built like a tank, couldn't kill it driving down old dirt roads at silly speeds, over rocks and washboard that caused the eyeballs to vibrate. Tasty pic. Speaking of archives, Volvo has some great online articles in their history section, including a good one on the 544. Also, speaking of branding, when you bought a new Volvo in the '60s, it had paint that was obviously thick and well-applied, and had a really good new-car smell. You knew you hadn't just splurged on another average car, and it had the three-point belt. No rattles. At all. Felt good.