Do you remember that Sweden used to have a car manufacturing company or two? You will most certainly remember Volvo, partly because it is still very much alive and well and performing, particularly in China. And that is largely because of its owners, the Geely Corporation. A large Chinese conglomerate, there are rumours that it may soon be returning some of Volvo’s ownership into private hands, possibly even in Sweden.  There’s news today of a potential IPO (initial public offering) that may take place in Hong Kong or be split between Sweden and Hong Kong.
Follow me so far? Essentially Geely will retain control over the company, but sell sahres in it back to the market. And this looks like quite good business as they bought it a few years ago for $1.8 bn and experts are predicting that they could raise between $15-30 bn in the exercise. Alongside this the company are investing heavily in new technology. That is not unlike any other major car manufacturer, but you will remember that Volvo were the first to say that they would go all electric, or rather more correctly they would offer electric across their range, by the end of this decade.
Geely is quite big, and in fact is now also the largest shareholder in Daimler. They are rumoured to hold over 10% in the company. And Daimler were in the news for different reasons this week, as they ploughed some funds into Softbank’s new high-tech vehicle, the Vision Fund. No small venture it is also backed by Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi and itself is worth $100 bn. There are plenty of others ploughing money in alongside them, not least Larry Ellison of Oracle and America’s Cup fame. This goes alongside Daimler’s wide investments outside of its core business, it previously acquired MyTaxi, a car hailing service that is enormously successful in Europe, Chauffeur Privé in France, which is a French Uber and car2go which is a car sharing company. Like many car manufacturers, they can see that the first future of automotive is probably outside of manufacturing.
I mentioned  a few weeks ago that Daimler and BMW were teaming up to share things like ride hailing apps between themselves to gain some economies of scale. But I guess you wouldn’t want BMW’s situation in the UK at the moment, like so many their sales this year have slumped and they announced earlier this week the recall of over 300,000 vehicles. Not that the recall has silenced their detractors, who point out that many other countries acted on a stalling problem a long time ago, and they say that it has taken a high profile public campaign following the death of an ex-Gurkha in a BMW to initiate that this recall. Still, as ever, aftersales managers will be happy with the extra business.
Have a great weekend. Will it be ‘Nul Points’ or not for the UK at Eurovision??….

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