When Ford saw an opportunity to acquire Volvo Cars -- a profitable though smallish Swedish automaker -- in 1999, it jumped at the opportunity and paid $6.45 billion. A decade later, after supporting Volvo through years of losses and tentative efforts to integrate its operations, it sold the company to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group for $1.8 billion.
Within days of disposing of Volvo, Ford announced it was also terminating Mercury, leaving Lincoln as its sole upscale brand. Lincoln is currently overhauling its product line -- as is Volvo. Under the leadership of CEO Stefan Jacoby, Volvo is focusing its gaze far out in the future and has set a goal of 800,000 unit sales by 2020.
Democrats and Republicans are debating that question today, but we may not know the answer for 10 or 15 years.