Chinese automaker may make bid for Volvo

/ Source: The Associated Press

A person briefed on the matter said Wednesday that a Chinese automaker is considering buying Ford Motor Co.’s Volvo unit.

The person said Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. is taking a look at Volvo, and is expected to meet with executives at Volvo’s Gothenburg, Sweden, headquarters. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

Beijing Automotive would be one of three or four companies that have expressed interested in Volvo. It’s unclear how interested Beijing Automotive is in Volvo, the source said.

Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford said last year that it wants to sell the unit so that it can focus its efforts on three core brands: Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. Ford acquired Volvo in 1999 for $6.45 billion from Volvo AB.

Ford sold its Land Rover, Aston Martin and Jaguar units last year in an effort to restructure during the worst auto sales slump in more than two decades. It also reduced its stake in Mazda.

Geely Automobile Holdings, is another Chinese automaker said to have an interest in Volvo. Speculation ran high last month that the company based in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou would make a bid for Volvo and General Motors Corp.’s Saab. Geely’s directors denied any plans to submit bids for the Swedish automakers.

General Motors, under bankruptcy protection, said it intends to sell Saab, which filed for bankruptcy protection in Sweden in February. A Swedish court has given Saab an extension on finding a buyer.

Shares of Ford fell 7 cents to $6.19 Wednesday.