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Ford's China JV to keep making Volvos, Geely says

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Ford's China JV to keep making Volvos, Geely says

February 3, 2010 06:01 CET

HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. will continue to make Volvo S40 and S80 models at its China car venture for some time after the planned purchase of the Swedish car brand by China's Geely, a Geely official said on Tuesday.

In China, Ford operates a three-way tie-up with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and Mazda Motor Corp., making Ford, Mazda and Volvo models. The Volvo models are made at a plant in the western municipality of Chongqing.

"We respect the existing Volvo production contract between Ford and its JV partners. The Chongqing plant will continue to make S40s and S80s until the agreement expires," Victor Young, public relations director for Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, told a small group of reporters in the eastern city of Hangzhou.

Young declined to say when Ford's production agreement on Volvo models at the JV was set to expire.

Zhejiang Geely, parent of listed arm Geely Automobile, aims to sign a preliminary agreement to buy Ford's Volvo unit for up to $2 billion in February and to close the deal by May, a company source told Reuters in January.

Ford, the only major U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy last year, is selling its luxury Swedish brand to free up cash as it climbs out of the industry's worst-ever downturn.

The purchase would be the biggest in a recent spate of similar acquisitions of distressed global assets by Chinese carmakers.

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