China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. dismissed concerns that it’s unhappy with the direction of its Swedish car-making unit Volvo Cars.
The comments came after Friday in a report Reuters said sources described the 87-year-old Swedish carmaker, acquired by Geely in 2010 to be torn between a desire to hang on to its roots – a focus on safety and Scandinavian understatement in car design – and a desire to turn the cars into large, flashy, high-end vehicles prized by affluent Chinese customers and which would compete head-on with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Reuters also said Chinese tycoon Li Shufu, founding owner and chairman of Geely and chairman of Volvo since the takeover, is growing increasingly frustrated with Volvo’s management team, many of whom are Swedish and other Europeans, according to a Volvo board member and another person close to the automaker.
“Our board and executive management are united on the strategic direction of Volvo,” Li Shufu, founding chairman of the Chinese carmaker, said in a statement. “We are committed to delivering ambitious product plans and market growth, with my total support.”
Volvo said earlier this week that it returned to profit last year and expects growth in 2014. Led by CEO Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo is in the midst of an 11 billion-euro ($15 billion), four-year expansion plan.
The company will present a revamped version of the XC90 sport-utility vehicle this year. The model will be the first developed since Geely bought the manufacturer from Ford Motor Co. in 2010.
Via Automotive News Europe