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Volvo witnesses a reversal of fortunes under Geely ownership: Emphasis on safety and made in Sweden brand boosts growth

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Published Date : Mar 2018

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No. of Pages : 21 Pages

In 2010 Volvo was acquired by Geely from the Ford Motor Company. Volvo, which struggled financially in the latter years of Ford’s ownership, has seen a strong reversal in its fortunes under the ownership of Geely in recent years. This case study analyzes the reasons for this turnaround.

Key Highlights

  • Geely purchased Volvo from Ford for $1.8bn in 2010, $4.7bn less than in paid 11 years earlier
  • Sales of cars also have increased, rising from 373,525 units sold in 2010 to 571,577in 2017, meaning the number of cars being sold by the company per annum has increased by more than 50% in the past seven years under the guidance of the company’s new Geely appointed leadership
  • Geely has been key to emphasize the “Swedishness” of Volvo. Volvo regularly produces advertising campaigns in which Swedish celebrities participate and the “Made in Sweden” logo is emphasized.
  • The company’s focus on safe and reliable cars also works in perfect conjunction with the general positive opinion that most foreigners have regarding Sweden. This has boosted Volvo’s reputation and sales of its cars.


  • Assesses Volvo's performance under the ownership of Ford
  • Looks at the reasons for Ford's decision to sell Volvo
  • Analyzes Geely's reasons for buying Volvo
  • Explores how employing a European management team has played a key role in Volvo's turnaround
  • Looks at how Geely has marketed teh Volvo brand
  • Analyzes Volvo's performance under the ownership of Geely

Reasons to buy

  • Why did Ford sell Volvo?
  • Why did Geely buy Volvo?
  • How has Geely overseen a reversal of fortunes for Volvo?
  • What role has the new leadership team played in Volvo's recent success?
  • How has Volvo looked to position its brand post acquisition?
  • What are Volvo's sales volumes?
  • What are Volvo's revenues and net income?

Table of Contents 

Overview 2

Catalyst 2

Summary 2
Geely purchased Volvo from Ford for $1.8bn in 2010 6
Volvo was troubled under Ford and last managed to make a profit in 2005 6
Ford sold Volvo for $4.7bn less than it paid 7
Volvo?s financial performance has improved under Geely 9
Geely introduced an experienced team to take over Volvo after acquisition from Ford 9
Volvo?s revenue and net income continues to increase under Geely ownership 10
Resurgence down to focus on safety, Sweden brand and improving industry conditions 12
Geely has adopted a decentralized approach encouraging the Volvo brand?s ties to Sweden 12
Improving situation in the car manufacturing industry has boosted growth 13
Despite initial differences with Geely leadership, Volvo future looks stable and also electric 15
Differences emerged initially between Volvo leadership and Geely over the direction of the company 15
Electrification and increased partnerships with Geely owned companies is the future for Volvo 15
Conclusions 17
Impressive growth made possible by high level of autonomy, focus on Swedish identity, and improving market conditions 17

Appendix 18
Sources 18
Further Reading 19
Ask the analyst 20
About MarketLine 20
Disclaimer 20

List of Table

Table 1: Number of cars sold by Volvo per annum between 1999 and 2009 10
Table 2: Sweden?s rankings on various international rankings measuring for example innovation or competitiveness 13
Table 3: Price of electricity in $ per kWh for industrial consumers of various European countries 14

List of Chart

Figure 1: Net income of Ford Motor Company, $m, 2002-2012 6
Figure 2: Revenue of Ford Motor Company, $m, 2002-2012 7
Figure 3: Assets of Ford Motor Company, $m, 2002-2012 8
Figure 4: Geely managed to attract experienced leaders like Stefan Jacoby to Volvo following the acquisition 9
Figure 5: Net Income of Volvo, $m, 2011-2017 10
Figure 6: Volvo percentage change in car sales and revenue, 20 11
Figure 7: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars at the 2014 Paris Motor Show 12
Figure 8: Value of European, Chinese and North American car manufacturing industries, $ bn, 2013-2017 14
Figure 9: Volvo is heavily involved in the production of new Lynk & Co cars 16

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