http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll...31/1148/AUTO01
I n the last week of January, Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally traveled to Gothenburg to visit the Swedish carmaker Volvo as part of a tour of Ford's European operations. "We had a very good session with him," Volvo CEO Fredrik Arp recalled in an interview. "He was very positive about Volvo, very supportive of what we're doing."

The visit was well timed. After a long stretch of falling sales, Volvo had good news. It has stemmed the sales slide in the fourth quarter following the launch -- first in Europe -- of a redesigned S80 sedan.

For the year as a whole, its sales were down 4 percent at 427,747 vehicles -- its second consecutive annual sales decline. But 2006 ended on a positive note, with sales up in the final quarter from year-earlier levels.

"We turned in an acceptable fourth-quarter -- and not just in terms of growth," Arp said in an interview earlier this month at the Geneva car show, where Volvo displayed the XC70 sport wagon coming out this year