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VOLVO

Volvo confirms Jeremy Lin endorsement deal

American basketball star Jeremy Lin has officially signed a deal with Swedish car manufacturer Volvo, with the company hoping he will boost interest in their products among Chinese car buyers.

Volvo confirms Jeremy Lin endorsement deal

Lin, whose parents are of Taiwanese origin, signed the deal agreeing to be the face of Volvo for two years.

“You may not immediately see the connection between me and Volvo. But both of us are striving to be better and smarter at what we do, and to do it our own way,” Lin, 23, said in a statement, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Lin, who is the only National Basketball Association (NBA) player with a Harvard University degree, is one of only a handful of Asian Americans to ever play in the league.

He had sat on the bench of the New York Knicks in relative obscurity, until a series of team injuries forced him into the spotlight, under which he shone – leading the struggling team to five consecutive wins in what media dubbed a “Lin-derella story”.

The Swedish car manufacturer, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely, has noticed the potential market value of Lin to Chinese customers, after the so-called “Linsanity” has swept American fans off their feet and created a resurgence in the Knicks’ fanbase.

Freeman Shen, senior vice president of Volvo Car Corp. and chairman of Volvo’s China operations is looking forward to the collaboration.

“For our region, Jeremy Lin is the pride of the whole Chinese population, and we are excited to work with him,” Shen told the paper.

The endorsement, which is arranged to be for two years, will be focused in the United States, China, and the Chinese speaking market.

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VOLVO

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.

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