Li Shufu: Geely Auto presidentVolvo dealers and brokers have largely welcomed the
takeover of the Swedish car maker by Chinese car manufacturer
Geely. China’s largest car manufacturer bought Volvo for £1.5bn in
August after a decade of ownership by American car giant Ford.

James Greaves, marketing and events
manager at Clive Brook Volvo in Bradford, said: “It’s a step
forward for us, and an exciting one. The Chinese don’t just let
things fester, they move and act. It should mean a more proactive
approach to development in the model range.

“We will see more of a focus on
Volvo rather than with Ford, which put Rover and Jaguar first while
Volvo was just ticking along. They weren’t putting much development
work into it as far as I was concerned.”

Broker Graham Hill expected a short
hiatus in supply before a relaunch, which he hopes will bring
discounts and more business.

Hill said: “When Spyker acquired
SAAB everything was in limbo for a while. We saw it as a supply
issue rather than anything else. Hopefully, when Volvo effectively
relaunches its product, we will be offered more discount cars and
better rates.”

However, a North London dealer was
sceptical about the reasons for the sale: “Ford was good for Volvo
until it found Volvo was haemorrhaging money in North America. It
then had to sell off some assets to placate its stockholders in the
US. They didn’t sell Volvo to raise money; it was all

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Volvo’s revenue dropped 22% in the
US last year. The Geely takeover is therefore an opportunity for a
makeover at Volvo as the Chinese manufacturer uses the deal to
break into international markets.

The deal comes after a string of
divestments by Ford since chief executive officer Alan Mulally took
over in 2006. Aston Martin was first to go, to a Kuwaiti-led team
in 2007, and Land Rover and Jaguar were sold to Indian firm Tata
Motors for $2.3bn (£1.5bn) in 2008. Ford paid $6.45bn, over four
times the recent sale price, for Volvo in 1999.

Stefan Jacoby, former chief
executive of Volkswagen America, has been appointed as Volvo chief
executive, to replace Stephen Odell, who has moved to be chief
executive of Ford in Europe. Stuart Rowley has also left Volvo to
join Ford keeping the same role of Chief Financial Officer.

The Scandinavian car maker will
continue production in Sweden and Belgium. However, in order to
achieve Geely’s aim of increasing production by more than 50% to
600,000 cars a year, a number of sites across China are being

Geely Auto president Li Shufu said: “Geely is extremely proud to
have acquired Volvo Cars. This famous Swedish premium brand will
remain true to its core values of safety, quality, environmental
care and modern Scandinavian design as it strengthens the existing
European and North American markets and expands its presence in
China and other emerging markets.”