Inside sources have revealed that Ford Motor Co. has formed an internal prep team, dubbed “Project Nile,” whose specific duty is to ready Volvo for sale. Apparently, Ford wants a clear price on the Swedish safety king’s head and has ordered the subsidiary be sold by the end of the year. Speaking to the press from the Geneva Motor Show yesterday, Volvo CEO Stephen Odell assured that Volvo was not in danger of falling into Chinese hands, but Ford is singing another tune. Executives close with Project Nile say that Ford is currently entertaining offers from several Chinese automakers, though Ford would not offer any official comment on the matter. Unfortunately, despite Odell’s hope-inspiring comments, there’s no denying that Ford desperately needs to unload Volvo, and the Chinese are just chomping at the bit.
According to senior economist, Charles Chesbrough, China’s eagerness to snap up Volvo can be attributed entirely to their sub-par product. By adding an established, prestigious European manufacturer to their nameplate, a fledgling Chinese company would enjoy instant market fame without the hassle of actually producing a quality automobile. What’s more, acquiring Volvo would also allow the Chinese to compensate for their notoriously shoddy safety features. “That’s probably been the Achilles’ Heel of Chinese vehicles,” said Chesbrough. “Buying Volvo, which is known for its safety, is one way to deal with that.”
We say: C’mon Ford, you’ve been able to go this far without resorting to GM-like tactics, don’t start now. If you sell Volvo to some small Chinese wannabes, you are no better than GM severing ties with Saab. At least Saab now has a chance to reestablish themselves as an independent company and restore their former glory, what will Volvo have? The Chinese will leech whatever they can from Volvo’s already struggling reputation, and then proceed to totally compromise the brand’s integrity. Remember Ford: the reason you’ve become the public favorite is due equally to both your quality product and your corporate ethics – don’t jeopardize that.
Source: Detroit News