Kirk Kerkorian's associate Jerry York stated last Thursday that Ford would do well to sell Volvo and extinguish Mercury. Coincidentally (or not) Ford's stock zoomed up to one of the highest price levels it's seen in the last six months. Tracinda Corporation, Kerkorian's firm, has expressed faith in Mulally's leadership and his plan to strengthen the automaker. There has been speculation about a sale of Volvo in the past, and punditry has been begging the Blue Oval to do something with Mercury, or put it out of its misery, for years.

While York seems certain that Volvo will be on the market in less than two years time, Ford continues to state that the Swedish subsidiary is not for sale. Looking at the Premier Auto Group shuffle of the last year, though, it could certainly be deduced that Volvo will indeed go on the market soon. Moving the brand out of the PAG location in Irvine, CA and back to Rockleigh, NJ, where Volvo had set up shop when it first started selling cars in the United States, is a move that set off whispers of impending sale. While it might be nothing more than right-sizing office space for Volvo now that the rest of the Premier Auto Group is gone, a cross country move is a deft way to trim operational fat without layoffs, and divorcing Volvo's North American operations from Ford locations makes an ownership transition easier, too. While Ford and Volvo products share a lot of engineering and parts, a well-negotiated deal wouldn't preclude a sale that gently phases out the currently entwined platforms as they age and replacements are brought to market.

[Source: Automotive News - sub req. - Photo: Bloomberg]