Volvo CEO defends Swedish industry

Volvo CEO defends Swedish industry

Leif Johansson, CEO of Volvo AB, is concerned about what might happen to Swedish industry, should GM decide to shut down the Saab plant in Trollhättan. In an interview with DN, Johansson is also critical of the fact that the promised investments in the infrastructure in Western Sweden have not been realised.

Moreover, Volvo’s CEO is heartily tired of hearing that the export industry does not create jobs in Sweden.

“It’s not true and it’s even dangerous to say that the export industry’s growth doesn’t create jobs,” he commented.

Johansson is also concerned that the negative picture of the export industry can affect the company’s prospects of recruiting skilled labour in the future.

Volvo has 78,000 employees worldwide and 28,000 in Sweden. In the past year alone the company has recruited 5,500 people, 1,600 of whom have been recruited in Sweden.

“We have invested heavily in Sweden and we do a lot for other group companies here. For example, the plant in Skövde produces engines for the entire group,” he says.

Warning of housing market bubble

With house prices rising by an average of 11 per cent since last summer, Morgan Stanley is warning that the Swedish housing market could overheat.

House prices in Malmö have risen by 17 per cent and in Gothenburg by 15 per cent in the past month alone. In the Greater Stockholm area house prices rose by 8 per cent last month and the average price for a house is now around 2.6 million crowns.

Morgan Stanley economist Elga Bartsch commented: “It’s a market that is starting to look strained in some areas, including Stockholm.”

Swedish petrol prices

According to EU statistics 17 of the 25 member states have lower petrol prices than Sweden and, should the hike on petrol tax be realised, Sweden will have the most expensive petrol in Europe. Maria Spetz, president of the Swedish Automobile Association, is now calling on Prime Minister Göran Persson not to act rashly.

SAS increases fuel surcharge

SAS is increasing the fuel surcharge by some 20 kronor per ticket on all domestic and European routes as a result of rising oil prices.

Meanwhile, the airline’s new check-in system designed to make life easier for travellers has been so problematic that it is one of the key reasons for the airline’s delays this summer.

“Teething problems” says SAS, which hopes to have ironed out all problems with the system within the next month.


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