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Ford dismisses reports of Volvo sale

Loss-making auto giant Ford has dismissed reports that it was mulling a sale of its subsidiary Volvo Cars to BMW, reports said Wednesday.

„Ford is not in discussions with BMW or any other carmaker regarding interest in the Volvo Car Corp,” Ford spokesman John Gardiner was quoted as saying by Bloomberg financial news service. Earlier this week, newspapers in SwedenLondon reported possible interest from BMW of Germany. On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that BMW had flirted with buying a share in Volvo earlier this year, but the signals had cooled down. Ford acquired Volvo Cars in 1999 for $6.45 billion. and

In Sweden, Volvo Cars spokeswoman Maria Bohlin earlier this week told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that „we regard this as media speculation,” adding any possible sale was a matter to be decided by Volvo Cars' owner, Ford. The Volvo group makes trucks, buses and vehicles for road construction and other purposes. In March, Ford sold Aston Martin, the British luxury brand of James Bond fame, for £479 million ($925 million) to a British consortium backed by investors from Kuwait and the US and including British auto racing champion David Richards. Ford last year lost $12.7 billion and announced plans to lay off 44,000 workers and close 16 plants. It still operates two other British subsidiaries, Jaguar and Land-Rover, which along with Volvo make up its 'Premier Auto Group.'

The speculation about selling Volvo follows on the heels of the recent decision by Daimler-Chrysler to sell its flagging Chrysler division to the investment firm Cerberus, as part of a general reductions in Detroit. Additional challenges for the US industry are on the horizon this summer with wage negotiations between the powerful United Auto Workers (UAW) union and Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. The UAW has already made huge concessions on retirement plans and retirement health insurance coverage to help the industry stay afloat. (