Geely Nixes Volvo Merger, Volvo CEO Explains

geely nixes volvo merger volvo ceo explains

Despite having already having Volvo Cars as one of its many subsidiaries, China’s Geely signaled roughly a year ago that it wanted to merge with the brand as part of its strategy to expand globally. Plans changed on this week when the company announced that the duo will be retaining their independent corporate structures, though they will continue working on a joint development program for electric vehicles.

This means more backing for the Lynk & Co. brand, a technology-focused joint venture Geely launched with Volvo in 2016. Lynk is hoping to bridge the gap between traditional vehicle sales and subscription-based models, while also pioneering telematics and other connected services that look like an invasion of privacy to some and a technological breakthrough to others. Regardless, the industry as a whole seems convinced this represents the evolution of the automobile and a stable source of revenue for companies capable of monetizing large amounts of data — often with the help of the world’s largest technology firms.

In a recent interview with Automotive News, Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson indicated that it wasn’t Volvo’s decision to dissolve the merger. But he did suggest that it was likely for the best, hinting that investors weren’t as keen on the idea as Geely was. At over $8.6 billion (USD), the Swedish brand is valued exceptionally high for its size. Reports from a Citi analysis claimed that important shareholders of the Chinese company expressed concerns that Volvo might be overvalued and could dilute their take. There were also claims that the pair had conflicting corporate cultures. Samuelsson did little to downplay either scenario.

“The valuation only matters on the day that someone is ready to pay,” he explained. “That being said, if you are bringing something in, then you have to determine the valuation and that could lead to endless discussions. But if you keep the companies separate, they can be evaluated separately. I think the capital markets see that as an advantage.”

Ultimately, he believes both companies would be better served by continuing to collaborate on EVs and software development. When asked about the cost benefits of combining efforts on those programs, instead of a going through with a traditional merger, he made it clear the tech stuff mattered most to Volvo — even if it wasn’t obvious to outsider eyes.

“They are so important but they are difficult to measure,” Samuelsson said. “If you are focused on hardware, then you could say, ‘OK, now I buy twice the volume of this shock absorber and I get 8 percent cost saving.’ It is very easy to measure. But if the synergies mean you will get something such as the Auto Pilot to market six months faster than expected and it’s better than if you did it alone, how do you value that? Unfortunately, I cannot quantify that as easily as with something more traditional.”

[Image: Volvo Cars]

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 14 comments
  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.
Next