Ford yesterday announced it is reviewing its options with its Volvo brand, which could include a sale.
The carmaker said the decision to re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo came in response to the fall in the global new car market.
Ford is trying to strengthen its balance sheet. It meets with the US Congress tomorrow, together with Chrysler and General Motors, to ask for a $25bn state bail-out to cover restructuring costs.
“Given the unprecedented external challenges facing Ford and the entire industry, it is prudent for Ford to evaluate options for Volvo as we implement our ONE Ford plan,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally.
“Volvo is a strong global brand with a proud heritage of safety and environmental responsibility and has launched an aggressive plan to right-size its operations and improve its financial results. As we conduct this review, we are committed to making the best decision for both Ford and Volvo going forward.”
Ford said the review likely will take several months to complete. In the meantime, Ford will continue working closely with Volvo as it implements its restructuring plan under CEO Stephen Odell, who was appointed to lead Volvo earlier this year.
At the same time, Ford and Volvo will continue to put in place processes that allow Volvo to operate on a more stand-alone basis in the absence of the Premier Automotive Group structure, an effort which began in November 2007 following a previous review by Ford of strategic options for Volvo.
“Outstanding safety, an increased focus on environmentally friendly vehicles and contemporary Scandinavian design will continue to be the foundation upon which we will build a strong Volvo business for the future.” Odell said. “We intend to build upon our strong brand heritage and to appeal to our global customers with vehicles like the new XC60 – the safest car Volvo has ever built. Volvo also will introduce seven low-emission models in 2009, giving us the best environmental product range in the premium segment.
“We have a strong brand presence in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region, and are growing in key markets such as China and Russia, where we are the leading premium brand.”