London Times claims Ford is selling Volvo. Ford says "We never said that."

There are so many people inside and outside of Ford saying so many different things about Volvo that it's entirely possible the Swedish brand will be sold and Ford won't realize it until weeks later. The London Times Online posted an article yesterday stating that Ford decided, "in principle," at a board meeting two weeks ago, to sell Volvo. That piece quoted unnamed "City sources." A bevy of press outlets got in on the story, including the New York Times, quoting "people with knowledge of the situation" -- but those people said the board meeting was last week, not two weeks ago. Not long after the London Times piece, though, the Detroit News posted a column saying that "Ford won't confirm a possible sale of Volvo." It quoted John Gardner, a Ford of Europe mouthpiece, as saying "We're not in discussions with any company in relation to selling Volvo Car Corp." It also quoted John Hoyt, an American Ford spokesman, as saying the board meeting was last week, but "he knew of no decision." Still, all of this has been followed up with an article on Monday morning, euro time, stating the same sale rumors again.

Everyone knows the situation that Ford is in. Everyone knows that Ford and Volvo are quite integrated, and that Ford wants to find the right buyer offering a sweet price. Nevertheless, everyone also knows that if the doorbell rings, and standing on the doorstep is the right buyer with the right offer and the willingness to continue sharing Volvo tech with FoMoCo, Ford will greet them with "When can we expect your check?" Volvo is going to be sold unless no one makes a compelling offer, or Ford emerges from its financial darkness in time to keep the PAG's jewel. Which makes the excitement over Ford's supposed declaration to sell Volvo more than a little intriguing.

In the mean time, Ford claims nothing more than to be assessing its business options. No bank has been assigned to the sale, but according to the articles, Ford is looking for $8 billion to let Volvo go. On an ironic side note, in the same London Times article, there was this comment about the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover: "Those involved with the discussions say Ford has imposed strict conditions of secrecy on would-be bidders, even to the point of vetting potential advisers. 'They are completely paranoid about leaks,' said one person close to the talks." A paranoia well-founded, it appears.

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