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Home-made Volvo ad becomes YouTube hit

A Swede with a talent for movie making has found YouTube success after he uploaded a home-made advert for a second-hand Volvo from 1993.

Home-made Volvo ad becomes YouTube hit
Would you buy this car? Photo: YouTube (screenshot)
It's no secret – Volvo is viral material. 
 
Volvo Trucks managed to rake in some 1.1 billion kronor ($170 million) from a series of ads with Jean Claude Van Damme. And Zlatan Ibrahimovic rewrote the Swedish national anthem for an ad with Volvo Cars. And Swedish pop star Robyn was next in line for Volvo limelight. 
 
But the latest viral video selling the Swedish car comes not from the company itself, but from a southern Swede in need of more garage space. 
 
"I bought a new car but I only have one parking space," Christoffer Castor, a 28-year-old video advertiser from Skåne, told The Local. "So I got two of my friends and shot the film during lunch."
 
The car in question is a red Volvo 245 from 1993, undeniably one of the most lacklustre models to be produced. But with the camera work of colleague Christian Svanlund and a witty and wacky script written in under 20 minutes, no one would ever know. 
 
Castor put up the colourful car ad on Swedish buy-sell site Blocket, and included a link to the video on YouTube. It wasn't long before people started taking notice. 
 
"The Swedish version got a lot of attention," Castor remarked. "All the big newspapers are writing about it. I didn't think it would be a hit outside of Sweden, but people started asking for it in English."

Castor's English-language video ad. See the Swedish version here, which already boasts around 250,000 hits
 
Castor complied, and the video is now international. A few details were lost in translation – making the ad even sillier. A blend of inflated truth and obvious gibberish, the ad refers to the vehicle in lofty and sometimes ludicrous terms. 
 
"Sprung from the hands of engineering wizards of a bygone era, forged in spotless tweed in three different sauces," says the enigmatic voice of Castor's comrade, Johan Karlberg.
 
With a quarter of a million views on YouTube in just three days, Castor's Swedish version of the ad has garnered plenty of laughs, and even a tweeted thank you from Volvo. But the car is yet to be sold. 
 
"There are people interested but no real concrete offers yet," Castor said. 
 
And the new car? Also a Volvo.
 
"1968," Castor laughed. "I like 'em old."
 

Solveig Rundquist
Follow Solveig on Twitter.

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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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