Bob Austin suggested in his Dec. 15 column that Honda would be a perfect buyer for Volvo ("Honda and Volvo: Now there's a perfect match," Comment).
Despite the lack of marketing and product support from Ford Motor Co., Volvo remains a strong global brand. Volvo could pay off in the long term for a manufacturer willing to invest in its development.
Ideally, Volvo should stay with Ford. Volvo's brand image of safety delivers a stronger dose of trust and reassurance than any other Ford brand. Any association with Volvo could provide a boost to Ford's upcoming products. Unfortunately, to survive, Ford most likely will have to sell that valuable asset.
Honda Motor Co. would be the dream buyer from Volvo's perspective. The Honda brand is one of today's most relevant and authentic. Honda's corporate culture of simplicity and environmental concern would be a perfect match with that of the Swedish make. Volvo buyer DNA is similar in many ways to that of the Honda buyer. Sadly for Volvo, Honda already has a near-luxury brand called Acura.
What other possible buyer does that leave? I would suggest Hyundai for the following reasons:
n Volvo would provide Hyundai with some European cachet.
n Volvo's image is consistent with the desired Hyundai brand positioning of family, safety and security.
n It would be a much cheaper and quicker way for Hyundai to develop a second premium channel.