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October 29, 2009

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Ford sees Geely-led group for Volvo Cars

A group led by China's Geely Group is the preferred bidder for Ford Motor Co's Volvo Cars unit, the United States auto maker said yesterday.

Ford said the selection signals that it is conducting "more detailed and focused negotiations" with Zhejiang Geely Group Holding Co Ltd about selling the Swedish automotive business.

"Ford's objective in our discussions with Geely is to secure an agreement that is in the best interests of all the parties," Lewis Booth, Ford's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said.

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said last year that it wants to sell Volvo so that it can focus on three core brands: Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. Ford bought Volvo in 1999 for US$6.45 billion from Volvo AB.

"Any prospective sale would have to ensure that Volvo has the resources, including the capital investment, necessary to further strengthen the business and build its global franchise, while enabling Ford to continue to focus on and implement our core ONE Ford strategy," Booth said.

Volvo Cars welcomed the announcement, spokeswoman Maria Bohlin said. "It's positive that it has been confirmed that there's a preferred bidder," Bohlin said.

Geely said last month that it was considering a bid for Volvo Cars with an unnamed investment partner.

Geely was among Chinese firms that have shown interest in Volvo and other European car makers.


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