A U.S.-led group has entered the race to buy Ford Motor Co's Volvo cars unit, the Financial Times reported, in a challenge to China's Geely Automotive which last month confirmed its interest in the loss-making Swedish carmaker.

A Ford spokesman said the group was in discussions with interested parties about Volvo cars, but declined to identify the parties or to comment on the timing of any sale.

Citing people close to the sale, the FT said the Crown consortium had fully secured financing from U.S. private equity groups. But the consortium was also seeking additional backing from Swedish investors to signal its intent to keep Volvo in the country, according to the FT.

The Crown consortium is fronted by former Ford director and turnaround specialist Michael Dingman and former Ford and Chrysler executive Shamel Rushwin, the people told the FT.

The FT reported another informed person as saying the U.S. consortium had offered significantly less than Hong Kong-listed Geely, but that both plans involved similar plans for more than $3 billion of additional investment in Volvo.

The FT quoted a person close to the sale saying Geely had offered just less than $2 billion for Volvo. Other media reports have put the price tag at around $2.5 billion.

A Volvo spokeswoman declined to comment.