In January 1999 there was an announcement that the Ford Motor Company was to purchase the Swedish car company Volvo. It was, in the car world, fairly momentous news. There had been several bidders for Volvo including Volkswagen AG and Fiat. The price was $6.45 billion and allowed Ford to expand its share of the European market by offering a broader line of near-luxury saloons and estates. For Volvo the deal allowed the company to concentrate on its other operations, such as construction equipment, engines and aerospace. In Sweden it was big news, the loss of a national treasure and there was much mourning in the national press.
In January 1999 I happened to have a work trip to Gothenburg which was, still is, the headquarters of Volvo. The company arranging the trip had arranged for a taxi driver to meet me at the airport. I duly passed through customs and there in Arrivals was a smartly dressed man with a sign bearing an approximation of my name.
He said his car was outside and we went through the doors to see the longest line of identical Volvo V70 estates I had ever seen, well over 50 cars. He pointed somewhere vaguely down the line, “my car is over there” he said.
Testing the boundaries of Swedish humour I said “Oh, it’s a Volvo!” “No” he replied laconically, “it’s a Ford”.
Geely become new owners.
Volvo is now owned by Geely since 2010 who paid Ford $1.8 billion. Geely in turn own Geely Auto, Lynk & Co, Proton, and Lotus as well as Volvo (and the Polestar cars). They also own the London Electric Vehicle Company, better known as London Taxis.
I have owned 3 Volvos in my time, 2 V70 estates similar to the Gothenburg taxi and a V90 estate.
V90 was a tremendous car.
The V90 was a tremendous car, I bought it with 50,000 miles on the clock for about £5000. When I sold it with 120,000 miles the only fault I’d had was a single headlight bulb. I got £4,500 for in part exchange for a Citroen Xantia.
They don’t make them like that any more…