“There is a lot of affection for the brand,” says Volvo’s President and CEO Stephen Odell to TDB, “that is what we feel and hear all around.”
Volvo’s generally positive image is big a help as the car maker talks to the Swedish government about loan guarantees of some 3 billion Swedish Crowns (about $328 million) from the European Investment Bank.
Any such financing also needs approval from the European Commission, adding another layer of bureaucracy to say nothing of the politics where lately individual countries have been accusing others of protectionism.
According to Odell, the Swedish Minister of Industry is willing to look into the matter. “It is not easy, but they have good advisers and they are smart people,” says Odell, who is also talking to the Belgian government, since Volvo has a production facility there
“We talk about how to get through the year without damaging the business. Belgium will cover 80% of the blue collar labor costs at the plant there. Today, the Swedish unions want to talk about other ways to reduce costs, such as shorter working time