By on December 22, 2009


Two sales of two Swedish car factories are close to the finish line. One may live on happily, but in a foreign land. The other may die from exhaustion. You want the good news or the bad news first? Ok, let’s start with the good news.

Ford’s Volvo deal is as good as decided, and the winner is Geely, writes Financial Times Germany. Both sides are in agreement about all key points, what’s left to do is to sign the contract. According to “several persons who are part of the negotiations,” there are some details to be cleared regarding intellectual property and whether the plants in Sweden and Belgium will be kept open. “The talks are progressing well on Volvo,” Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said. “Hopefully, we’ll have something to announce soon.” Financial Times has it on good authority that Geely is willing to pay a bit less that $2b for Volvo. All other bidders appear to be out of the running. A deal could be reached before New Year. The Western, or the Chinese. Prediction: The deal will close.

Now, the not so good news: Saab still isn’t officially dead yet. Spyker has presented its last-minute-plans for Saab in Sweden. Saab’s workers’ council chief Paul Akerlund confirmed that Spyker’s Managing Director Victor Müller has presented his plans to the current Saab management, to the unions, and to the worker’s council, say Automobilwoche [sub]. (Shouldn’t he present them to GM?) Akerlund reckons the plans are very respectable“and are worthy of the support of Sweden’s government. (What else should he say?) GM promised to take a look at the plans. One deciding factor is that Sweden’s government will underwrite a loan. Sweden had asked the EU to look into the case to make sure the guarantee won’t be considered as improper state aid. Last we heard, the EU was still looking. Prediction: The deal will fall in the perception gap, and die.

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17 Comments on “So Who’ll Be Sold Soon? Saab Or Volvo?...”

  • avatar

    The thing that strikes me first is how alike they look. Now imagine a p544 and a 93 from 50 years ago. Even 25 years ago, they would have had totally distinct personalities. Now, they’re commodities. Eeeny meeny miny moe…

  • avatar

    Personally I think they should both die. Volvo’s not what it used to be, its sales have been falling for years, and if Ford’s done with the brand then it should be dropped. There are far too many brands out there, some have to die. Saab is a dead duck, they’ve been a dead brand walking for years, and would have died in the ’90s had GM not swooped in and picked them up, for some stupid reason. Volvo was once a brand that lived on its safety virtues, but now every automaker makes safety a priority and all that leaves Volvo with is boring cars with safety that’s on par with everyone else. They’re both done in this market, kill ’em both.

    • 0 avatar

      My distaste comes from the actual driving style of the people who choose to buy these in my area.  The only thing I liked was the 92x, but that was because I hated the childish looks of Subaru at the time.

    • 0 avatar

      Why exactly are there too many brands?

      Perhaps this is true from a pure business dollars and cents perspective, which I suppose is all that matters, but from any other perspective, legions of nearly identical cars made by 2 or 3 companies is just a brutal future for anyone who cares for or remotely enjoys cars.

      The problem is, r&d costs are such that only the biggest of the biggest can survive.

      It would be fun for a change of pace if automakes could just calm down  – they seem locked in a brutal hyperactive death match – more technology, more mergers, more cars, faster, larger, quicker, must pentrate all market segments with new and costly cars, schnell, schnell, must rule all!!!

      I know I’m a dinosaur, but there has simply been a sea change as actual car people have been replaced with lawyers and marketing corporate types. Think of all of the fantastic makes founded and run by people who wanted to build good, exciting, and special cars – Alfa, Lambo, Lancia, Saab, Triumph, BMW, Jensen, Lotus, Jaguar, Maserati, Citroen, Peugeot, Renault, Volvo, and so on and so forth. Now no one gives a sh*t about special cars, rather its 100% about market share, demographics, and corporate aquisutions.

  • avatar

    This is excellent news for Ford.  $2B buys them even more time and/or allows them to pay down debt.
    GM leadership would be dancing on top of the RenCen if they could sell something for $2B.

  • avatar

    Outside of ‘Chevy I don’t think GM has anything that would get $2B.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly.. . What would GMC, Buick and Caddy combined fetch?  Even with some decent products, GM’s whole plan is based the Hail Mary Volt subsidy/bailout from the Feds.
      Every GM employee, supplier, retiree better be voting for, contributing too and campaigning for the farthest left democrats they can find.
      Good for Ford!  Go Go Blue Oval Boys!

    • 0 avatar

      Buick China is worth more the $2B, Opel is, Daewoo’s sold as Daewoo’s are. GM big problem is GM North America. If only they could leave that market?

  • avatar

    Kill em both.  Volvo and Saab both wanted nothing to do with automaking 10 years ago.  What does that tell us?  It tells us that the Swedish auto industry died already.  It’s a high-cost, low-volume, low-brand value, failed model.  The people that buy these cars are poseurs just like the cars themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyle Schellenberg

      I like Volvo, I just think they’re too expensive.
      It was right for Ford to get rid of them though.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 Volvo and Saab (the industrial corporations) looked long and hard at their books and decided they couldn’t make car manufacturing work in a financial sense anymore.  So they started shopping for buyers.  The Saab aviation company is probably shocked that GM made a go of it this long, and at least Ford got to steal a few really good platforms from the Swedes before deciding that it didn’t make long term sense to hold onto Volvo.

    • 0 avatar

      I think that’s a little excessive. It was impossible for Volvo or Saab to remain viable as independent car companies, but that’s been true for every independent auto manufacturer over the last twenty years. Most of them have survived, and a lot of them are making the best cars they’ve ever produced.
      What I keep coming back to with Volvo and Saab are the opposite paths Ford and GM took with them. Ford used Volvo as a way to raise the quality of its high volume platforms, while GM turned Saab into just another disastrous exercise in badge engineering. For all of Ford’s many mistakes in building and running the Premier Auto Group, they never tried to push off a Mustang as an Aston Martin.

  • avatar

    i think volvo has a much more attractive lineup than saab.  that said its too expensive.
    most of the volvo stuff just shares platforms with other ford cars.   i think the s80 and taurus share , and the s40 and focus euro do.   and the s60 i’m fairly sure is either a mondeo or fusion.
    but at least the lineup is complete, and the xc60 and c30 are not bad cars.  that said, its sort of a replication of other cars so why bother.  and why bother build them in super expensive switzerland.   the only thing they need from volvo is the engineers to design the shared platforms, but they can keep those and still shutter than actual brand.    the only way its worthwhile to keep volvo is if the different look of very shared cars is profitable and its not.  i’m assumign thats the only reason honda keeps acura around, since they make money on cars that take very little effort to make over regular hondas.

  • avatar

    The current s80 is a Mondeo – the current Mondeo is much bigger than the first one ( the Contour).  The platform in Fordspeak is EUCD (European c/d class)
    The c30/c70/s40/v50 is a Focus (C1) . The current s60 is on a D3 Platform, the next will be EUCD. The xc60 is EUCD and the xc90 is D3.

  • avatar

    Ford’s just announced it has reached agreement with Geely, selling Volvo for about $2.5bn

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