Swedish car-maker Volvo may be sold off by Ford in a bid to strengthen its shattered balance sheet as the global recession accelerates.
Volvo engines are made at Ford's factory in Bridgend, South Wales, while some development work is carried out at the firm's factory at Dunton in Essex.
Ford said it was re-evaluating strategic options for Volvo, including its possible sale, in the wake of a "significant decline" in the motor industry.
The company, one of the ailing 'big three' US automakers, said the review is in line with a broad range of actions the firm is taking to strengthen its bottom line.
Alan Mulally, Ford's president, said: "Given the unprecedented external challenges facing Ford and the entire industry, it is prudent to evaluate options for Volvo.
"Volvo is a strong global brand with a proud heritage of safety and environmental responsibility."
The review will take several months to complete.
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