Ford Motor Co. says it will “reevaluate strategic options” for its Volvo Cars subsidiary as the auto maker prepares to present its business case to U.S. lawmakers in an attempt to secure billions in bridge loans.

In a statement, Ford says it may consider selling the Sweden-based auto maker in the wake of “severe economic instability worldwide.”

The auto maker last month cut its stake in Mazda Motor Corp. from 33.4% to just over 13%, a move that netted about $540 million.

CEO Alan Mulally has long said that Volvo was not for sale, but he has reversed his stance due to the need to shore up Ford’s balance sheet.

“Given the unprecedented external challenges facing Ford and the entire industry, it is prudent for Ford to evaluate options for Volvo as we implement our One-Ford plan,” Mulally says in the statement.

“Volvo is a strong global brand with a proud heritage of safety and environmental responsibility and has launched an aggressive plan to right-size its operations and improve its financial results. As we conduct this review, we are committed to making the best decision for both Ford and Volvo going forward.”

Ford says its review of Volvo will take months to complete. In the meantime, the U.S. auto maker will continue to work with Volvo to put in place processes that will allow the company to operate on a more standalone basis.

The Financial Times today reports Ford has approached the Swedish government about possible aid for Volvo, which has seen its sales drop precipitously due to the global industry slowdown.

Volvo’s U.S. sales through October were down 28.1% from year-ago, to 63,745 units, Ward’s data shows.

Citing people familiar with the discussions, the FT says Ford has spoken with Industry Minister Maud Olofsson about securing funds to bolster Volvo’s finances in anticipation of a possible sale.

Olofsson says in the report that Sweden wants clarity about Ford’s plans for Volvo before the government considers support.