Ford Motor Co is believed to be looking to sell its Volvo subsidiary for as much as US$6bn, a report said today. That would be close to what the US giant paid for Volvo 10 years ago.

The Bloomberg report, citing people with knowledge of the plan, said Ford had contracted JPMorgan Chase & Co as an adviser for the sale.

Earlier this week, Ford said it would "re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo Car Corporation, including the possible sale" of the Swedish brand.

The US company said in a statement: "The decision to re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo comes in response to the significant decline in the global auto industry particularly in the past three months and the severe economic instability worldwide.

"The strategic review of Volvo is in line with a broad range of actions Ford is taking to strengthen its balance sheet and ensure it has the resources to implement its product-led transformation plan."

Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally added that it was "prudent" to consider options for the brand.

Ford acquired Volvo for $6.4bn in 1999. Bloomberg said the company was "counting on the strength of the brand to draw bidders".

Sweden's government, on Tuesday, ruled out taking over Volvo Cars if Ford decided to sell it. However, the opposition and unions want politicians to step in and save the country's auto industry.