Crown Still In Lust With Volvo?

John Horner
by John Horner

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.

John Horner
John Horner

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5 of 7 comments
  • Maniceightball Maniceightball on Dec 03, 2009

    Volvos just haven't been competitive in the last 20 or so years. Their price point is up there with the BMWs and Mercs, without having the adequate kit, style, brand, or perceived sporting chops. Maybe I'm just channeling RF, but Volvo is a dead brand, plain and simple. Everyone caught up and at times surpassed their safety standards. My guess is Mercedes has the highest association with safe cars (true or not), and that'll be a hard thing to wrestle away from them. Saab, on the other hand, could work out. But you'd have to really focus the brand into what it once was -- really cleanly styled, decently quick (turbo power!) jetmachines epitomizing Swedish design, and actually styling the cockpit like a jet or something.

    • John Horner John Horner on Dec 03, 2009

      I get the part about Volvo being in trouble for decades, but you lost me with the leap of faith in which Saab has more potential going forward. Saab was in far worse shape when GM bought it then Volvo was back then ... and GM screwed Saab up even more. Ford hasn't been all bad news for Volvo and Volvo's current product line is both much broader and in far better shape than Saab's.

  • Dswilly Dswilly on Dec 03, 2009

    I would consider a Volvo and never touch a Saab and I'm a BMW guy. The Volvo product line, successful or not in the big picture isn't too bad and the pricing is well below what Mercedes and BMW's are going for. We had a Volvo XC90 in our lab for testing well equipped at just over 40k, try that with a BMW. We also had a Ford flex that was the same price and not even close in build quality.

  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Dec 03, 2009

    I know some people holding a ton of Geely stock who are not gonna be pleased by this news... I'd just like to see them retool and crank out new P1800s.

  • Pf21 Pf21 on Dec 03, 2009

    No matter which bidder wins, Volvo has no hope to stay in the U.S. It has debts upwards to 2 billion, annual loss was 1.7 billion last year. I just do not see how it's possible for Volvo to stay.