• May 9, 2007
Autocar says BMW seriously considered taking Volvo off of Ford's hands earlier this year, going so far as to request financial data about the company, which is surprising on several levels.

First, does this mean Volvo is for sale? Bill Ford has said nothing in Ford's Premium Auto Group is sacred, but Volvo seems to be one of the company's shiniest jewels.

Perhaps the greatest surprise would be BMW's Quandt family overcoming its aversion to buying another carmaker after the much maligned purchase of Rover. Despite ending up with the popular MINI brand, it's well known that the Quandts were not happy with the whole mess.

Speaking of the MINI brand, Autocar theorizes that had BMW written a check for Volvo, future small cars from the Swedish automaker might have been based on a platform shared with an expanded MINI lineup. Autocar daydreams that by sharing with Volvo, MINI might have expanded its lineup with a sedan and that rumored SUV variant, the Colorado. On the other hand, larger, more upscale Volvos could have been BMW-based.

Which leads us to another quandary in this rumored buyout deal. How would BMW have positioned Volvo's quite similar lineup against its own? Both have a full selection of premium coupes, sedans, wagons and SUVs targeted at upper income buyers. Granted, Volvo touts safety while BMW espouses to be the "Ultimate Driving Machine," but wouldn't sales of the V50 have competed with the 3-Series wagon? The V70 with the 5-Series?

Upside? Well, Ford would have gotten another short-term financial boost and BMW would have had the potential to save money with platform sharing.

What does the Autoblog community think? Opportunity missed or disaster averted?

Thanks for the tip, Brent!

[Source: Autocar]


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  • 42 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, didn't see this one coming but, it really does make a lot of sense. Ford is losing money hand over fist and is in need of a cash infusion. BMW can do some platform sharing with Volvo, to help with costs. But keep the cars different identities to avoid cross shopping. Thought Jaguar would have been on the block first since it is a anchor pulling them into the abyss.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nothing's sacred at Ford anymore. They just announced they're getting out of the foundry business, one of Henry's favorites. Peddling Volvo should take them about an hour to complete.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Volvo use to be expensive but very well built. It never had daily model changes and the buyers weren't concerned. It was a leader in safety and the "safe aspect" came prior to glitz and glitter. Can the same be said now? I ask because I truly don't know.
      Bryan
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford will not sell Volvo. Anyone who believes it is ignorant and uneducated. BMW would ruin Volvo anyways with their low class interiors and poor reliability.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i think sells volvo could be good for ford.they still have mercury which could fill that role if they want to stay in the same class as volvo, or could import the euro fords as mercury.mercury has done nothing for ford but add more of the same models.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Its all about COST CUTTING!! These cars really don't compete against each other, so some component sharing helps with costs and makes both brands STRONGER!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think it would be a very wise move, both from BMWs and Volvo's perspective.

      First of all, Volvo as a brand has been going downhill under Ford. The fault is not exclusively Ford's, they were losing focus even before that. The cars were becoming more mainstream but also less competitive against the Germans. As it is, they've been stagnating at similar sales levels as in the 90s, while Audi's, for instance more than doubled over the same period of time.

      They should have chosen green instead of sporty in 1992, after the ECC concept - brought out a production version of the hybrid. It would have gone down a lot better with the existing customers, and attracted many new ones plus it would bring quite a positive and distinctive image for the brand.

      The image now? Safety as the one defining feature is gone, Volvo's being indistinguishable in that respect from any other brand, bettered by Renault, even.

      Sporty? Not by a long shot. One of the few failures of the brilliant chassis departments at Ford. Take a great platform, such as that of the Focus then turn it into one of the most boring cars to drive on the market - i.E. the V30/S40/V50.

      Ergonomics? Took a back seat. Gone are the days where you could operate every single button blind, by shape, in gloves, if needs be. Enter BMW style mini buttons, all the same and distinguishable only if you actually look away from the road. Leather getting cheaper and looking like the cow had a plastic diet. The seats in the 850 and first generation S80 that we have are superb. The current S80 is a massive step back. They're not even comfortable on a 2 hour journey, let alone sufficient for 10 hour's driving.

      But I digress. BMW has demonstrated quite ably, that it can manage other brands very well. Look at Mini, RR, both very well taken care of.

      Volvo could be positioned as a green, environmentally aware alternative, running on ethanol, biodiesel etc., with a heavy share of hybrids (which BMW will bring to market rather soon). BMW could then continue with it's focused role of being a fun to drive, sporty vehicle.

      As already mentioned, few drivers of one would ever consider the other, so the overlap is minimal. As for it being too embedded in Ford, Ford managed to take on LR from BMW, with pretty much all BMW components, from engines, to drivetrains, to everything else and still make a success out of it. Sure, with new models and facelifts BMW components were replaced with Ford group ones but it is definitely doable.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It would be a shame to see BMW lose its focus.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think BMW would be doing a good thing taking Volvo off Ford's hands. The old Volvos were great before Ford bought them out. Anyone see a possibility of having rear-wheel drive Volvos again? I'd like to see that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      they may overlap in models but buyers are very different. In my opinion someone the core buyers of Volvos would never think of buying and vise versa. Having said that I don't reckon buying Volvo would be beneficial to BMW
      • 7 Years Ago
      Please G_d, no Bangle's invasion into the sharpest most-modern looking (and engineered as well) Swedish car company. Volvo is perhaps the last Euro premium brand completely free of muscular, retro, and other cr@p aimed at nostalgic baby-boomers and other lovers of the 70s auto technology.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Except for strictly cash purposes, selling Volvo would make no sense for Ford. Volvo is well integrated into Ford's global operations and AFAIK is making money. Ditching Jaguar would make more sense given its free-fall in sales and its more freestanding operations. Though at this point I can't imagine any major player wanting Jag. Only Peugeot/Citroen and Hyundai/Kia lack a luxury brand, and I doubt the Frenchies want a dying British marque, and the Koreans have one under development already. Perhaps Modern Gentleman would be interested? BMW - never.

      Besides, didn't Ford put up most of Volvo as collateral for their mega loan a year or so ago?
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