Volvo Car Corp. President & CEO Stephen Odell attends a press conference during the first media day of the 79th Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo in Geneva March 3, 2009.
Last week, Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri reported that parties interested in purchasing Volvo from Ford were expected to officially place their bids before April 12, 2009. In addition to the usual flock of Asian vultures, the article revealed that a new, unidentified European constellation was also throwing their hat into the ring, though no further details on the buyer’s identity were offered. Today, two important updates on the matter have surfaced. Of most important note, Volvo CEO Stephen Odell dismissed rumors of a possible sale to a Chinese firm (thank Odin), confident that Volvo will be on an upswing by autumn. He did not, however, offer any comment on our second piece of news: a Volvo-Saab merger.
Although it is still unclear whether Saab is the “unidentified European constellation” mentioned earlier last week, GM exec Bob Lutz has expressed his public support of the move, explaining, “That way both we and Ford git rid of a problem.” Incredibly, Lutz had the audacity to continue in the same vein, explaining that GM’s current goal of finding a buyer for Saab was proving to be an extremely arduous task due to Saab’s dismal track record. “Buyers also look at the figures. Just like the Swedish government has done. Who wants to buy a firm that has reported losses, year after year,”
Putz Lutz reasoned, patently neglecting to add that GM is directly to blame for said losses. Countering Lutz’s distasteful attitude, Saab CEO Jan Åke Jonsson told reporters that Saab has generated significant interest with private buyers and is currently entertaining “seven or eight” offers.
We say: We’re ecstatic Odell is demonstrating the good sense to avoid the Chinese, and we actively hope Volvo maintains as clean a product line as possible. With Saab, we’d hate to see their brand name sullied further by some up-and-coming Chinese manufacturer desperate to feed off the reputation of an established European line, and we hope that of their 7-8 offers, at least one of them is the Swedish government.