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SCANIA

MAN demands millions from Swedish ex-CEO

Swedish businessman Håkan Samuelsson, the former CEO of German truckmaker MAN, has been ordered to pay €237 million in damages to his former employer for his alleged part in a major corruption scandal.

MAN demands millions from Swedish ex-CEO

The company also demanded sums from five other former managers totalling in the hundreds of millions, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.

But Samuelsson’s lawyer Wolf-Dieter von Gronau rejected the claim against the 59-year-old Swede as unfounded.

“It’s a completely ridiculous amount,” he told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

Last year, the Munich public prosecutor’s office slapped MAN with a penalty of more than €150 million for years of paying bribes to obtain foreign contracts. The company spent another €70 million righting their books and conducting an internal corruption investigation.

Now the company’s board of directors, led by Volkswagen boss Ferdinand Piëch, wants to hold its former leaders personally responsible for the damages, the paper said. VW owns 30 percent of MAN.

Though Samuelsson, former CFO Karlheinz Hornung, and the other managers stepped down in 2009 and were not personally implicated in the probe by Munich authorities, MAN has made the unusual choice to hold them liable for failing to prevent the corruption.

Piëch’s motto, according to the paper, is that battles aren’t won “with friendliness.”

“Probably no one (in a purely financial sense) has felt Piëch’s hardness as much as Hakan Samuelsson,” Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote.

It remains unclear whether MAN is attempting to cover the costs of a €200-million liability insurance policy taken out for its top managers, or whether, as Samuelsson’s lawyer claims, they are attempting to force a settlement, the paper said.

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CAR

This is the Swedes’ favourite car model (hint: it’s not a Volvo)

Sales of new cars in Sweden rose 7.9 percent last year, according to fresh figures. And for the first time in more than five decades, the car topping the list of most-sold models is not a Volvo.

This is the Swedes' favourite car model (hint: it's not a Volvo)
A Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A total of 372,296 new cars were registered in 2016, said Swedish automakers' association Bil Sweden. Truck sales rose by a whopping 15.3 percent, with 58,174 new trucks sold last year.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most popular model was not the iconic Swedish car Volvo, but rather a German Volkswagen. Its Golf model was Sweden's most sold car, racking up 22,084 sales.

It is the first time in 54 years a brand other than Volvo tops the list in Volvo's birth country. In 1962 Volkswagen's famous 'Beetle' was the most sold car in Sweden.

The last of the Volvo V70, Sweden's best-selling car for two decades prior to last year, rolled off the conveyor belt earlier this year and it seems the newer V90 has not yet found its place in Swedish hearts.

READ ALSO: Volvo bids farewell to Sweden's favourite car

However, it was not far behind. Volvo sold 21,321 of its V70/XC70/S90/V90, which are counted as one model in Bil Sweden's statistics, in 2016, second behind Volkswagen Golf. The company, which is owned by Chinese Geely, also held on to the largest market share, with four of its models in the top-ten.

The sale of so called 'super green cars' – vehicles with less than 50g/km carbon dioxide emissions – rose by 51 percent last year compared to 2015.

“Our forecast is that around 18,000 new super green cars will be registered in 2017, which represents a share of five percent of the total market,” said Bil Sweden's CEO Bertil Moldén.

In France meanwhile, sales of new cars breached the symbolic two-million threshold for the first time since 2011, according to the French automakers' association CCFA.

The most popular car models in 2016 (Bil Sweden)

1. VW Golf
2. Volvo V70II, S/V90N
3. Volvo S/V60
4. Volvo XC60
5. VW Passat
6. Volvo V40N
7. Toyota Auris
8. VW Polo
9. Kia Cee'd
10. Skoda Octavia