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) --


(F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report

says a consortium led by

Zhejiang Geely Group Holding

of China is its preferred bidder for

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Ford said it will now engage in more detailed and focused negotiations with Geely.

"Ford's objective in our discussions with Geely is to secure an agreement that is in the best interests of all the parties," said Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth. "Any prospective sale would have to ensure that Volvo has the resources, including the capital investment, necessary to further strengthen the business and build its global franchise, while enabling Ford to continue to focus on and implement our core One Ford strategy."

Booth said Ford "believes Geely has the potential to be a responsible future owner of Volvo and to take the business forward while preserving its core values and the independence of the Swedish brand," but no decision has been made.

While it would continue to cooperate with Volvo in various areas including component supply, engineering and manufacturing after a possible sale, Ford doesn't intend to remain a shareholder.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.