Volvo recalls 77,000 trucks

Swedish truck-maker Volvo announced on Monday plans to recall 77,000 trucks in North America due to the risk of rust in the steering mechanism which in rare cases could cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle.

Volvo recalls 77,000 trucks

“We have agreed with safety authorities in North America to recall these trucks because when they are not serviced regularly and a joint in the steering mechanism is not oiled, water can get in and it can rust and the steering mechanism can break,” Volvo spokesman Tommy Kohle told AFP.

Volvo, which plans to recall all trucks of the model specifically built for the North American market between 2001 and 2006, was aware of around 10 accidents linked to the problem, he said, adding that in two of the cases people had been hurt.

“But remember, that is out of 77,000 trucks that are between five and 10 years old and that have perhaps driven on average 150,000 kilometres (93,205 miles), so there is really a very small risk,” Kohle said.

He pointed out that the problem was usually discovered during the annual safety check, but that Volvo wanted to play it safe and change the steering mechanism on all the trucks.

The recall was still in the planning phase, he said, adding that by mid-August Volvo repair shops should be equipped to start fixing the problem.

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Sweden’s Volvo regains strength after pandemic puts brakes on earnings

Swedish truck maker Volvo Group was hit by a sharp drop in earnings due to the coronavirus pandemic, but business rebounded at the end of the year.

Sweden's Volvo regains strength after pandemic puts brakes on earnings
Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

In 2020, the group saw “dramatic fluctuations in demand” due to the Covid-19 pandemic, chief executive Martin Lundstedt said in a statement.

For 2021, Volvo raised its sales forecasts in its trucks division – its core business – in Europe, North America and Brazil.

However, it said it also expected “production disturbances and increased costs” due to a “strained” supply chain, noting a global shortage of semiconductors across industries.

The truck making sector is particularly sensitive to the global economic situation and is usually hard hit during crises.

In March, as the pandemic took hold around the world, Volvo suspended operations at most of its sites in 18 countries and halted production at Renault Trucks, which it owns, in Belgium and France.

Operations gradually resumed mid-year, but not enough to compensate for the drop in earnings.

With annual sales down 22 percent to 338 billion kronor (33.4 billion euros, $40 billion), the group posted a 46 percent plunge in net profit to 19.3 billion kronor (1.9 billion euros).

Operating margin fell from 11.5 to 8.1 percent.

However, the group did manage to cut costs by 20 percent.

“We have significantly improved our volume and cost flexibility, which were crucial factors behind our earnings resilience in 2020,” the group said.

Volvo's business regained strength in the second half of the year.

“Customer usage of trucks and machines increased when the Covid-19 restrictions were eased during the summer and this development continued during both the third and fourth quarters,” it said.

“Both the transport activity and the construction business are back at levels on par with the prior year in most markets.”

For the fourth quarter alone, the company reported a 38-percent rise in net profit from a year earlier.