Thirty years ago, the independent Volvo Car Corp. was considered the most profitable automaker in the world. In 1986, the company sold 113,267 cars in the U.S., far more than Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
But the arrival of Japanese luxury brands a few years later meant Volvo never again would see that level of success in the U.S. Ford acquired the company in 1999 and a decade later sold it to China's Zhejiang Geely.
Prospects appeared bleak coming out of the recession, but now Volvo's rising sales and profits under Geely have led to speculation of a stock market listing. Swedish business daily Dagens Industri, citing unnamed sources, says Volvo and Geely soon could decide whether to go public in 2017.
Responding to the article, Geely said there are no immediate plans for an initial public offering. But if it does spin off Volvo, it would be the latest step toward re-creating the independent company so many in Sweden have pined for since Ford took control 17 years ago.
This year, Volvo's U.S. sales are up 20 percent. Combined with the prospect of being independent again, it's starting to feel like the old days in Gothenburg. They may be ready to party like it's 1986, not 1999.