Is Fords Premier Auto Group Ready to Sell-Off Volvo?
Is Volvo even for sale? According to current owner Ford Motor its not, but that hasnt hindered Volvo and Renault execs from discussing options, or so the Parisian daily newspaper La Tribune stated.
The two automakers were joined at the hip prior to 1993, with 20 percent of each companys car production companys stock and 45 percent of each others truck-making subsidiary being co-owned. It is an alliance Renault CEO Louis Schweitzer has stated he would like to resume, despite it ending in “cultural friction,” with Volvo not impressed with the value Renault brought to the equation.
A story, featured by Automotive News, reported the leader of the French automaker would seriously consider buying the Swedish company “if the price was right.” In the same breath he seemed doubtful the worlds number two carmaker would be interested in selling, due to Volvo being a “great brand” and “a profitable one.”
The French newspaper wrote that Volvo management is frustrated with PAGs inability to develop autonomy with the Swedish automaker and its other brands. Still, when asked about a possible Renault-Volvo takeover PAG CEO Mark Fields told Automotive News Europe, “I did not come over to PAG to preside over an auction.”
And how does Ford fit into all this? Having become a division of FOMOCO in 1999, under the PAG umbrella alongside stablemates Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Lincoln – the latter of which incidentally was brought back into the American fold last year – Volvo has been on the most monumental upswing of its storied life. With new models focusing as much on style as substance, a metamorphosis began with the S80 sedan and V70 wagon and has continued more recently with the elegant S60 sedan and XC90 sport utility vehicle.
Renault on the other hand has been struggling to sell its controversial Vel Satis flagship sedan while a proposal to market partner Nissans Infiniti luxury marque in Europe to take on BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and now Lexus, is in hiatus.
The result of all this talk is just that, talk. While Volvo execs should be given a boost of confidence from Renaults interest, Fords PAG will no doubt have an even stronger desire to hang on to what is arguably their top success story, with a tighter grip no less.