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‘Dangerous’ Swedes in Volvos arrested in Zurich

Three Swedes visiting Zurich were shocked when local police pulled over their black Volvo station wagons and arrested them at gunpoint.

'Dangerous' Swedes in Volvos arrested in Zurich

The incident occurred on early Thursday afternoon when city police received information that “dangerous people” were in the cars, Zurich city police spokesman Marto Cortesi told The Local.

“We had some information about two cars and three people,” Cortesi said.

“We had some information that dangerous people were in these cars.”

Cortesi said he could not go into details about what specific danger was suspected but he said city and cantonal police were jointly involved in the arrest, which he acknowledged was “a mistake”.

Witnesses told Swiss news website 20 Minuten that at least 10 officers surrounded the vehicles wielding guns, including a machine gun.

“Then the men were dragged out and handcuffed,” an onlooker told the newspaper.

“The action was indeed spectacular but the arrests happened quietly,” another witness told 20Minuten.

“The (arrested) men did not resist.”

The Swedes were taken to a local police station but were released after “five minutes,” when police realized the information they had received was false, police spokesman Cortesi told The Local.

A check of the vehicles’ registration information revealed the cars were actually registered to Volvo Cars in Gothenburg, with company officials catching wind of the mix up.

“Clearly a mistake has been made,” Volvo spokesman Stefan Elfström told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Zurich police apologized to the Swedes, who were tourists visiting Switzerland, he said.

The Local

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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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