Life is cruel for Scandinavian car makers. Both Saab and Volvo fell under the control of now beleaguered US car makers (GM and Ford respectively) and now both the US companies want out.
But there is a difference. GM has effectively abandoned Saab, leaving the quirky Swedish car maker at the mercy of the Swedish court system, which has helpfully protected the company from grief for three months to give it time to sort out the mess.
But Volvo is in a better position. Ford has made it clear that it is not abandoning its Swedish off-shoot, but will continue to guarantee money flows. Which has made all the difference.
The Swedish Government has apparently agreed this morning to underwrite loans of up to £400 million to allow Volvo to move towards independence. But there is a catch. Volvo has to acquire 10% of its funding from private investors before it can take advantage of the Government offer.
But with Ford’s backing this should be do-able, and the push by Volvo with its concept cars and its revised range (including the launch yesterday of an extended DRIVe range) should encourage investors to come forward.
Looks like Sweden may have an independent car industry once again.