In a move to free up cash for core operations, Ford Motor Co. is selling the last of its former Premier Group marques, Volvo, to the largest private automaker in China, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. An official announcement is expected for tomorrow. The sale has been anticipated for some time, and should put the company in a better position going forward. It also represents the final step in the unraveling of several assets that the company was never able to position very well, including Aston Martin, Land Rover and Jaguar.
As many keen observers of the auto industry might know, Ford's attempt at buying its way into the luxury segment was hardly the only misstep made in the US auto industry over the past decade and a half. Shareholders of US automakers (including everyone filing a tax return by April 15th) will not be happy to hear that it probably won't be the last. However, if the industry is to survive, inevitable future mistakes can't be as large or unwieldy to remedy. If they are, Americans will have to get used to buying more than just Volvos from Geely.