An investor group led by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, parent of Geely Automobile Holdings, has been named the “preferred bidder” for Ford Motor’s Volvo unit, Bloomberg reported. The Chinese firm is believed to be willing to pay around US$2 billion for the Swedish brand. Ford, which is selling off its international lines such as Volvo as part of wider efforts to return to profitability by 2011, said in a statement Wednesday that it will be holding more “detailed and focused negotiations with Geely.” One outstanding issue is the US firm’s concerns about protecting intellectual property, according to a person familiar with the talks. Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile Holdings, China’s largest private carmaker, said it wasn’t involved in its unlisted parent’s bid for Volvo. However, the company refused to rule out potential cooperation with Volvo.