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Daimler denies interest in Volvo

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Daimler denies interest in Volvo
Photo: DPA
11:18 CET+01:00
According to the latest edition of the weekly Der Spiegel, German car giant Daimler recently decided not to buy Swedish-based Volvo Cars from ailing US manufacturers Ford, but Daimler has now denied it was ever interested.

The report says that Daimler boss Dieter Spiegel spent the last few weeks examining the possibility of a purchase and concluded that there were too many potential drawbacks. But in a statement made on Sunday afternoon in Stuttgart, a Daimler spokesman refuted the report, claiming that it had never had any interest in buying the struggling Swedish company.

The report claimed that Daimler predicted problems with harmonising Volvo parts and practices with its own prestige Mercedes cars, an operation requiring substantial investment and little return. Ford bought Volvo Cars in 1999 from the Volvo group for a hefty $6.45 billion.

According to Der Spiegel, Daimler rival BMW also turned down the chance to take over Volvo, leaving Ford with little hope of finding a buyer, though China's Changan has now been mentioned as a possibility.

In a statement made at the beginning of December, Ford Motor Company said that it was reviewing strategic options for Volvo Car Corporation "in response to the significant decline in the global auto industry, particularly in the past three months, and the severe economic instability worldwide."

Ford said the review would probably take several months to complete, adding that it would continue to work closely with Volvo Cars, which is restructuring "to operate on a more stand-alone basis" under chief executive Stephen Odell.

Volvo Cars sales peaked in 2000 at 422,100 units, and Odell claimed last month, "We have a strong brand presence in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region, and are growing in key markets such as China and Russia, where we are the leading premium brand."

But car sales have slumped in the United States and Europe amid the global financial crisis that erupted in August 2007, and Volvo Cars has announced thousands of job cuts worldwide since June, most of them in Sweden.

Volvo Group chairman Finn Johnsson recently told Swedish financial daily Dagens Industri that his company was not interested in buying back Volvo Cars, and the Swedish state has also ruled out acquiring it.

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