Volvo on Sunday confirmed that Zheijang Geely, a Chinese carmaker, had signed the deal to buy Volvo from US auto giant Ford.
“I can confirm that a final agreement on the sale of Volvo to Geely was signed at 14:40,” Volvo Cars spokesman Per-Aake Froeberg told AFP, but he would not give further details before a news conference scheduled for later in the day.
The deal was signed at a ceremony at the Volvo headquarters in Sweden, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Ford announced in December that it had agreed on the main terms of the sale of its loss-making Swedish subsidiary Volvo Cars to Geely, one of China’s largest private automakers, for a reported two billion dollars.
The deal will bring to an end Ford’s decade-long association with the premium Swedish brand, known for its sturdy, family-friendly cars.
Volvo unions had earlier voiced opposition to the deal on grounds that it was vague on expansion plans and possible layoffs.
Three Volvo unions this week pressed for details “on the capital that will finance Volvo’s daily activities, investment on future projects and the production target of 600,000 vehicles by 2015.”
But on Saturday they pronounced themselves satisfied.
Who is Geely?
Geely started in 1986 as a manufacturer of refrigerators, then moved to manufacturing decoration materials in 1989, and by 1992, motorcycle parts. In 1994, Geely began manufacturing motorcycles. By 1996, Geely had produced over 200,000 motorcycles and scooters. Automobile production started in 1998. Geely began exporting its first cars in 2003. Geely had its IPO in 2004. Geely’s chairman and founder, Li Shufu, wants to sell two-thirds of the company’s output overseas, though he is noncommitted as to when that could happen. In a March 2005 forum held in Beijing, he was quoted as saying:
“We must make cars like people from Wenzhou make [a quarter of the world’s] lighters. But developing a car industry is like growing one tree slowly to cover a whole forest.”
Li relinquished the CEO title to Yue Guisheng in February 2006 to comply with Hong Kong Stock Exchange regulations. He remains chairman.
See the Geely Car Showroom: