Actually, it could be going absolutely anywhere a bid can be found.
As we reported last week, Ford is trying desperately to unload its last remaining prestige marque – Volvo. And, as we thought, the disposal of Volvo by Ford is said to be a condition of the help that Ford, along with the other main US car makers, is begging from the US government.
The main interest in Volvo comes from the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), which is China’s biggest car maker, and already owns the rights to MG. Ford made an approach to SAIC earlier in the year, but it has been reported that they have now made a second approach in a desperate attempt to off-load the Swedish marque. And Ford must be willing to let Volvo go at something of a bargain price, as the talks in the Summer failed over price.
The talks have been confirmed by a Ford spokesman, although he declined to name SAIC, simply referring to a ‘Chinese Car Maker’. But it seems highly unlikely any other Chinese Company would be in a position to act on a sale of this size.
China is known to have massive cash reserves, and the huge economic problems in the West are a golden opportunity to snap up prestigious Western companies at bargain prices. But China isn’t immune from the downturn, having reported falls in its own car sales of over 10% in November, and the Chinese car maker Chery has had to secure a big loan from Eximbank to smooth the troubled waters.
But it is becoming increasingly clear that the economic downturn in the West is going to see a real shift in economic power in the world, with countries like China and India being better placed to prosper in these troubled times.
So it looks like ‘Popping out for a Chinese’ could soon mean coming home with a Volvo!