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Volvo under fire for Shanghai show 'babes'

TT/Rebecca Martin · 20 Apr 2011, 14:58

Published: 20 Apr 2011 14:58 GMT+02:00

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It is not uncommon to see scantily clad women parading around car fairs, draping themselves over bonnets and leaning on vehicles. But so far this is something that Swedish companies like Volvo have tried to steer clear of. Until now, that is.

In the Volvo display the models moved around to assume poses around the vehicles and had their make up touched up in the unrelenting sun.

“They are our new truck-drivers," Pär Östberg, CEO of Volvo Trucks Asia said in a an attempt at a joke with the gathered journalists.

When he didn’t get many laughs, he continued by saying that this kind of thing ‘seems popular’ in China.

At the time, Östberg didn’t want to answer questions as to why Volvo was using the models to tout trade.

Later, when news of the display was starting to reach the press, he is reported to have telephoned news agency TT to make a statement.

“I can honestly say that I was rather taken aback with how it looked. It isn’t usually like that and it shouldn’t be,” he told TT.

According to Östberg, Volvo has the same respect for women wherever the company is based worldwide.

Having models pose around the trucks severely crossed the line of what they consider appropriate.

Story continues below…

“It's not something we would endorse as a company,“ he said.

According to TT, Östberg claims to have looked further into the matter and found that it was the local organisers in China who have had their wires crossed. The models will not be staying in the Volvo display.

“We will remove them immediately. They don’t belong there,” Per Östberg told TT.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:33 April 20, 2011 by bjinger
Volvo was under fire for no show 'babes'
17:15 April 20, 2011 by apelsin000
Having browsed several mostly visited Chinese websites, i saw no news like this at all. Sometime it seems that TT just crams some news stuff themselves and it sounds really nuts.
17:17 April 20, 2011 by Decedo
I don't get it. Volvo isn't a 'Swedish' company anymore, it's a Chinese company now. What they do and how they do it are or no concern or control in Sweden anymore.
18:02 April 20, 2011 by RadioBob
Volvo Truck is Swedish. Volvo Car is owned by the Chinese. As far as the advertising content goes, look around you - Volvo is far from the only one doing this in Sweden.
20:39 April 20, 2011 by Swedesmith
Wonder how the Chinese would feel about Hooters.
21:14 April 20, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Which ones are the models and which one is the truck?
21:44 April 20, 2011 by Carbarrister
This must have been a slow news day.

All vehicle companies use "Booth Professionals." Most of them actually know a lot about the vehicles. Mostly guys attend these shows and ask about cars. They would rather ask a babe than a dweeb.

Many of them prefer to look at the the babe than the car.

If they like the dweeb then they are playing for the other team, but who cares.
05:11 April 21, 2011 by Da Goat
It was the cloths that were wrong they should be dressed as truckies: small short khaki trousers and white singlets and shiny elastic sided work boots.

they are simply over dressed! and if nobody is paying attention they should jump up in the cab and make some noise and black smoke!

perfectly fine to have some truckers there for information dissemination!
05:27 April 21, 2011 by wenddiver
Were supporting Women, by firing all the Women. Women won't have to eat under Feminism, I guess.

I personally think Trucking would benefit from large numbers of Women in evening wear.
10:14 April 21, 2011 by aaww
what's wrong with this? volvo asia is doing a good job
12:23 April 21, 2011 by swedejane
Scantily clad asian girls and a trade show...but no happy ending. A first.
14:33 April 21, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Queer... I'd have figured Volvo would've opted for male models.
19:35 April 21, 2011 by LeoKinmann
Swedesmith, Hooters already opened in China and is expanding the business.

What the hell can Swedish publicity about the sales anyway. On the contrary, if I'm the CEO I'd rather take hits from feminazists than not boosting sales by a few percent hiring babes. Pär Östberg got no balls, he only wants to keep himself clean.
20:01 April 21, 2011 by RicG
Wonder how the Chinese would feel about Hooters.

(Possibly envious.)
17:16 April 23, 2011 by jackx123
totally pathetic. it's easter around the corner and we need a lot more bunnies. ii prefer the chinese rather than the outdated grannies that sweden can supply. just look at SAS cabin crew// sweet lord they'd scare the daylight out of me any hour of the day (or night)
23:57 April 23, 2011 by muscle
ok good my girlfriend didn't read this news, otherwise I would have to listen about chinese ways, the whole week!!!
09:11 April 24, 2011 by calebian22
The real scandal is that the models weren't wearing the typical car show uniform of halter tops (covering newly installed bolt ons), hot shorts and knee high street walker boots. Evening gowns? How Victorian!
21:02 April 24, 2011 by Rebel
There are 150 Chinese for every Swede; plus, Volvo is a Chinese company. So why the fuss?
03:17 April 25, 2011 by GLO
This is NUTS!!!! I use HOT GIRLS at my Corporation Trade Shows 40 times a year, we are always first to get a look. Sorry, Thats life, our girls/college students get paid pretty well too!!!
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