Posts Tagged ‘swedish cars’

Volvo Accelerating Plans for China

When is a Swedish carmaker not a Swedish carmaker?

by on Apr.30, 2012

The Volvo Concept You hints at the direction the maker plans to take, including its shift to small 4-cylinder and battery-based powertrains.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to call Volvo a Swedish car company.  These days, most of its top management – headed by CEO Stefan Jacoby, a former Volkswagen executive – is German and it is now owned by China’s big Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

Further confusing things, Volkswagen may soon have as much or more production capacity in China as it does in Europe, Jacoby confided in during a conversation at the Beijing Motor Show.

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Work is already underway to erect Volvo’s first Chinese assembly plant and, he confirmed, everything is in place to add a second Chinese factory.  But now, he revealed, “We are considerating a powertrain plant in the greater Beijing region” that would likely meet most or all the engine and transmission needs for both those assembly lines.


Volvo S60 R-Design Bucks Classic – if Boring –Image

Niche car could broaden Swedish maker’s global appeal.

by on Aug.18, 2011

Volvo's S60 R-Design features the maker's most powerful production engine ever.

The new Volvo S60 R-Design isn’t for everyone.  In fact, with anticipated sales of less than 1,500 vehicles, the new model will barely show up on the sales charts.  Nonetheless, the Swedish maker is betting the most powerful model it has ever put on the street will surprise those who still think of Volvo as building nothing but safe, boxy and boring automobiles.

“The S60 R-Design is the next step for Volvo,” insists Frank Vacca, who serves as brand manager for the overall S60 line-up.

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With its 325 horsepower inline-six, Volvo is targeting the R-Design at buyers who’ve traditionally ignored its products in favor of more performance-oriented brands like Audi and BMW.  If the company is right, the new model could begin to re-position Volvo as a more serious player in the global luxury market – and build demand for the company’s more mainstream products, as well.


Volvo Planning $10 bil Investment

Swedish maker focusing on China as it sets out to double sales by 2020.

by on Feb.28, 2011

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby wants to double sales.

China will play a key role in the planned doubling of global sales for Volvo Cars, the maker’s top executives revealed, as they outlined an ambitious plan to invest at least $10 billion in the company’s future.

That strategy will require a hefty investment by its new parent, China’s Geely Holding Group, said Geely CEO Li Shufu, though he stressed the two firms will continue to operate as “completely independent automaker(s).”

But increasingly, industry observers stress, the future of Volvo and Geely will become inextricably linked.

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“We plan to invest $10 to $11 billion over the next five years globally,” Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby told the Associated Press.  That money will go towards not only a new assembly plant in China, but also help the maker develop a critical new platform and a new line of powertrains – both of which would be shared among a variety of future Volvo products.


Muller Selling Spyker, Concentrating on Saab

Former Russian partner snaps up sports car maker for $21 mil.

by on Feb.24, 2011

Image By: Len Katz

Victor Muller will focus his attention exclusively on Saab, now.

Intending to focus his energies on his struggling Swedish car operations, Victor Muller is selling off his tiny Dutch sports car company, Spyker.

Muller, who purchased Saab Automobile just over a years ago, will be paid $21 million for Spyker, but could get about $25 million more over the next six years, depending on the success the brand has under its new owners.

The purchaser is Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, who had previously been Spyker’s chairman and key investor, with a 29.9% stake.  Antonov was forced out of the company when Muller when Muller began discussing the acquisition of Saab from its former owner, General Motors, which refused to negotiate while the Russian oligarch was involved.

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Originally founded a century ago, Spyker collapsed in 1925, the name revived by Muller a decade ago.  It produces an assortment of sleek supercars priced around $200,000 apiece.  In 2009, the last year for which sales numbers are available, the company, based in Zeewolde, Netherlands, sold a total of 36 vehicles.

Spyker went public in 2004 and has consistently lost money since then.


Saab Ready to Launch New 9-4X

New crossover critical to survival plans, maker acknowledges.

by on Feb.16, 2011

Saab's first-ever crossover, the 9-4X is finally heading to dealer showrooms.

The first Saab 9-4X crossover scheduled for retail sale has rolled off the assembly line at a General Motors plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

Saab Automobile chief executive officer and president Jan-Ake Jonsson was on hand to see regular production begin, just three months after the 9-4X was unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

“This is a great day for Saab,” said Jonsson who survived the maker’s brief insolvency before Saab was sold to Dutch automaker Spyker, a year ago. “The arrival of the 9-4X is another important step in the fulfillment of our business plan. This sporty and distinctive product will significantly broaden the appeal of our brand.”

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The 9-4X gives the newly-independent company access, for the first time, to the growing, mid-size crossover segment. An earlier attempt to target the large SUV market with the 9-7X fell far short of expectations, in large part because there was little differentiation between the Saab model and similarly-sized GM offerings.


Spyker Buys Saab

Deal saves Swedish brand just as GM began "wind-down."

by on Jan.26, 2010

It appears the new Saab 9-5 has been given a reprieve, as part of a sale to Spyker.

A last-minute reprieve has saved the long-struggling Saab, the Swedish brand parent General Motors was in the process of “winding down.”

The purchaser is the unlikely Dutch luxury sports car manufacturer, Spyker, which sees the acquisition as a way to expand its own global distribution base.

(This story is revised from the original as more details emerged.)

In return for $74 million in cash, and $326 million in preferred stock redeemable after 2013, GM will be free of Saab. (A senior GM officials hinted at a “third component” of the deal, but declined to provide details.)  Meanwhile, Spyker has received a $550 million loan from the European Investment Bank to fund the venture.

Swedish government officials gave their quick sign-off to the deal, which included the providing of guarantees for the EIB deal.  Assuming quick action on the few remaining issues, the transaction is expected to close in mid-February, about one year after Saab filed for bankruptcy.

“General Motors, Spyker Cars, and the Swedish government worked very hard and creatively for a deal that would secure a sustainable future for this unique and iconic brand, and we’re all happy for the positive outcome,” said John Smith, GM’s vice president for corporate planning and alliances.

Following the sale, the new parent plans to combine its existing operations with those of its new subsidiary to form Saab Spyker Automobiles.  (more…)

Change Coming for Volvo – But How Much?

Chinese owners certain to play with “new toy.”

by on Jan.18, 2010

Even after a takeover by Geely, models like the XC70 will remain the heart of the Volvo line-up, asserts CEO Stephen Odell.

Like a kid after Christmas, expect to see the Chinese automaker Geely “play” with its “new toy,” should its planned acquisition of Volvo Cars go through, said the Swedish maker’s top executive.

New production operations in China, as well as a Asian design and engineering center are most likely to follow Ford’s planned sale of its Volvo subsidiary, according to CEO Stephen Odell.  But the long-time Ford executive said he believes Geely will largely hold course with its new global brand.

Late last month, Ford confirmed long-standing rumors, revealing that it had reached agreement, “on all substantive terms,” with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, one of the strongest and most ambitious of China’s independent automakers.

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The proposed sale should be completed by the second quarter of this year, Odell predicted, during an interview with  The transfer would come at a critical time for Volvo, which has been hit hard, over the last several years, by the global recession and problems more particular to the brand.


A Happy Turn for a Saab Story?

GM reportedly extending deadline for potential Saab buyer.

by on Dec.30, 2009

The fate of an all-new version of the Saab 9-5 sedan will depend on whether Spyker can raise the money to purchase the brand from GM.

The troubled Swedish automaker, Saab, has been given an 11th-hour reprieve, though it’s far from certain the brand has been saved.

Numerous reports out of Europe – supported by American sources – indicate that General Motors has agreed to extend its self-imposed December 30th deadline for shuttering Saab, one of four brands it said it would either sell or close after emerging from bankruptcy protection last July.

The initial funding plan for Spyker’s acquisition of Saab has fallen through, but the Netherlands-based company is reportedly seeking another line of financing; and GM is giving the carmaker time to pull that together.


“The December deadline has been lifted and the final offer from Victor Muller [chief executive of Spyker] must be made by 7 January now,” a spokesman for GM of Europe told the British newspaper, The Guardian, which added that raising the necessary cash appears to be Spyker’s only obstacle, at this point. (more…)

Saab Sells Old Tooling to Chinese

BAIC buys Saab 9-3, 9-5 and powertrain technology.

by on Dec.14, 2009

The deal doesn't include the rights to the Saab name.

The Beijing Auto deal doesn't include the rights to the Saab brand or model names.

Saab Automobile AB announced today that it had closed on the sale to Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd (BAIC) some Saab 9-3 technology, the older 9-5 production tooling and some powertrain technology.

Saab will assist BAIC in integrating these unnamed technologies into future BAIC vehicles.

Financial details of the sale were not released.

The older production tooling used for the 9-5 sedan will move to BAIC, where it will produce the cars as BAIC models. The agreement does not include any rights to the Saab brand name, or the model names. BAIC currently produce trucks under its own brand name.



Saab 9-3 and the new replacement 9-5 model, which is not yet on sale, remain in production in Trollhättan, Sweden.


Ford Signals Volvo Sale May Be Nearing

Ford puts loan talks with Swedish government on hold.

by on May.07, 2009

The decision to scuttle loan talks comes as Ford studies options for selling Volvo, says the Swedish maker's CEO Stephen Odell.

The decision to scuttle loan talks comes as Ford studies options for selling Volvo, says the Swedish maker's CEO Stephen Odell.

Ford Motor Company is sending signals that suggest it could be nearing the sale of its loss-making Scandinavian subsidiary, Volvo.

The U.S. maker has put on hold negotiations with the Swedish government that would have unlocked a €200 million loan tentatively approved by the European Investment Bank.

Rumors of a sale have been rife for more than a year, ever since the automaker began dismantling its once-hyped Premier Automotive Group.  The niche luxury maker, Aston Martin was sold to a group of Kuwaiti investors, while Jaguar and Land Rover were sold to the Indian automotive company, Tata Motors.

Expectations of a Volvo sale heated up, last year, when Ford veteran Stephen Odell was appointed CEO of the Swedish company, best known for its focus on safety.  Initially, Odell said his goal was on fixing a variety of problems at Volvo, but early this year, he and other Ford executives acknowledged they were also gauging outside interest in the brand.    (more…)