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Beijing Auto may challenge Geely for Volvo
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-06-12 10:04

Beijing Auto may challenge Geely for Volvo

Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co may bid for Ford Motor Co's Volvo Car Corp unit, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

Beijing Auto, which failed in a bid last month for General Motors Corp's Opel business in Europe, is expected to send executives this week to Volvo's Gothenburg headquarters in Sweden, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The Chinese delegation is to tour Volvo's factories and review its books, the person said.

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Beijing Auto may challenge Geely Holding Group Co for Volvo as Chinese carmakers seek advanced technology to build more profitable vehicles.

"For Chinese automakers, buying a brand may be easy but it's more difficult to develop it afterwards," said Zhang Xin, a Guotai Junan Securities Co analyst in Beijing. "Beijing Auto and other Chinese automakers don't have the capability to manage it or to do research and development on products."

Geely, China's biggest private automobile maker, remains the frontrunner among companies interested in buying Volvo, said the person familiar with the process. Geely executives toured Volvo's plants and reviewed its books in April, the person said.

"There are a number of interested parties and there are continuing discussions," said John Gardiner, a Ford spokesman based in Cologne, Germany. "It will take some time to unfold."

Wang Hong, a Beijing Auto spokesman, declined to comment.

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