Ford clears the path for Volvo's sale to Geely

Ford Motor Company today said that it had settled all substantive commercial terms with China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group for the sale of its unprofitable Swedish car brand Volvo, and cleared the path to conclude the sale by early next year.

The Dearborn-based Ford said that although the final documentation, financing and government approvals have yet to be obtained, both automakers expect to sign a definitive sale agreement in the first quarter of 2010 and close the sale in the second quarter of 2010.

In late October, Ford had said that a consortium led by Geely had emerged its preferred bidder in the ongoing discussions concerning the possible sale of Volvo Car Corporation, and while it would be engaging in more detailed and focused negotiations with the Chinese automaker, no final decisions had been made. (See: Ford names China's Geely Group as preferred bidder for Volvo)

Last month Geely said that it had reached an agreement with Ford on intellectual property rights involving Volvo, which was the main stumbling block for the acquisition.

Geely, based in Hangzhou, is one of China's largest independent carmakers, and the first Chinese auto maker to make an overseas acquisition during the financial crisis.

In March, Geely had signed an agreement to buy troubled Australian car parts maker Drivetrain Systems International Pty Ltd for an undisclosed sum. (See: China's Geely buys bankrupt Australian parts maker)