• Sweden edition
 
Opposition urges state car industry takeover

Opposition urges state car industry takeover

Published: 02 Dec 2008 12:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Dec 2008 12:40 GMT+01:00

"It's not in our industrial policy to own carmakers and we will not jeopardize taxpayers' money," Enterprise and Energy Minister Maud Olofsson told the newspaper.

The centre-right government has instead pursued a policy of selling state assets since it came to power in 2006, including its share in telecoms operator TeliaSonera and drinks maker Vin & Sprit.

"We need to look at what the government can do without jeopardizing taxpayers' money," Olofsson said.

Cash-strapped Ford announced on Monday it was considering selling Volvo Cars, its last foreign premium marque, as the three big US carmakers ask US lawmakers for a bailout of 25 billion dollars in government-backed low-cost loans.

Volvo Cars, which the Volvo group sold to Ford in 1999, has been hit hard by declining sales, as interest for its big, costly models dwindles.

While a final decision on Volvo Cars is not expected for several months, there is already fevered speculation about possible buyers, with Germany's BMW and France's Renault suggested.

"But selling car companies in the midst of this financial crisis is hard," Olofsson acknowledged.

The car industry accounts for 15 percent of Sweden's exports and, with some 700 companies and suppliers, employs about 140,000 people.

With General Motors expected to announce a possible sale of Saab, Sweden's other carmaker which GM has fully-owned since 2000, the opposition called on the government to reconsider its position.

"I think the crisis is too serious and the risks are too big to not intervene," Mona Sahlin, the head of the Social Democratic party that has dominated local politics in the post-war period, told Swedish news agency TT.

Sahlin said the state should consider stepping in as a temporary owner.

"I would like to know what kind of contact (Prime Minister) Fredrik Reinfeldt has had with (French President) Nicolas Sarkozy and (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel," she said, noting that France will soon announce plans to support its automotive industry.

Olofsson was adamant however.

"These two companies (Saab and Volvo) are running at a loss of about 11 billion kronor ($1.3 billion) a year.

"We would have to get the companies to break even and then invest to produce new cars that would have to be marketed and sold. Who can say that that kind of ownership is temporary," Olofsson asked.

Metal workers' union IF Metall expressed anger at the government's position.

"Regardless of what happens with the ownership question it's important that we, like the rest of the European car industry, get help. I'm concerned by Maud Olofsson's comments," union representative at Saab, Paul Aakerlund, told TT.

"I think some kind of support is needed regardless of what the situation is in the future. It could be temporary ownership or a capital injection. I think that's necessary for us ... That's how bad the situation is," he said.

A poll at the weekend showed seven of 10 Swedes want the state to take over Volvo Cars temporarily.

In the third quarter, the company posted a net loss of $458 dollars, nearly three times its full-year 2007 loss of $164 million.

Volvo Cars has already announced it will slash 6,000 jobs, including 3,900 in Sweden, out of 24,400 employees worldwide.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
National
King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament
King Carl XVI Gustaf arriving on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament

BREAKING: Sweden's post-election parliament is meeting for the first time following a fanfare opening from King Carl XVI Gustaf. READ  

Opinion
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
A high school in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Should Sweden's school age be raised?

After the new coalition announced plans to extend Sweden's compulsory schooling until the age of 18, The Local asked two Swedes at high school if they agreed with the idea. READ  

International
Sweden slammed for ecological footprint
Sweden should increase its renewable energy according to WWF. Photo:TT

Sweden slammed for ecological footprint

Sweden is among the world's top ten polluters according to one of the largest scientific studies looking at the impact of humans on earth, produced by the WWF. READ  

Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

Brand stories
Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Aged just 27 and already living off of her own designs, some may consider Johanna Nilsson lucky. But she doesn't believe in luck. She's the founder of a jewellery line blending sustainability, subtle style, and Scandinavian simplicity - and it's taking the world by storm. READ  

Sport
Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash
Photo: AP

Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash

Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. READ  

National
Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears
The Infection Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: TT

Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears

A patient in a Stockholm hospital who was suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus was given the all clear on Tuesday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
A Jas Gripen. Photo: TT

New coalition agrees on defence and migration

UPDATED: The Green Party has committed itself to expanding Sweden's defence force, while the Social Democrats have compromised on work permits for migrants. READ  

National
Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden
The patient is being treated at the Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: TT

Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden

Doctors in Stockholm are checking a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

877
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN