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Volvo to slash 1300 jobs in Sweden

First cab: Volvo’s XC40 Recharge will be followed by other fully electric models – at least one each year – as the Swedish brand aims to have EVs account for half of its global sales by 2025.

COVID-19 forces Volvo to fast-track restructure but sales volume, growth ‘to return’

1 May 2020

VOLVO Cars has announced it will cut 1300 white-collar jobs in Sweden in the coming months as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic force the company to fast-track its global “structural transformation” that will see it move to online purchasing, new mobility services and electric vehicles.


In a statement, Volvo Cars said it would continue to reduce consultancy contracts, which means another 2000 positions are under review, while the latest move will take staff numbers in Sweden down to about 20,000.


The company said the exact nature and amount of job reductions will be decided over the coming months in negotiations with unions, but will not affect its manufacturing operations – which have only just reopened in Sweden after almost a month-long shutdown – and instead target “non-focus areas” such as combustion engine development, testing and production.


It also said that “although the notices are part of the ongoing realignment of the company’s operations in line with its long-term ambitions and need for structural cost reductions, the coronavirus pandemic has increased the pertinence of the measures announced today”.


“The coronavirus pandemic is affecting us in the short term, but we expect volumes and growth to return,” said Volvo Cars’ head of human resources, Hanna Fager.


“So we need to continue investing in our ongoing transformation and new business areas by reducing structural costs.”


Volvo says it aims to lead the industry’s transformation in areas such as online purchasing, electrification, autonomous drive and new mobility models.


Owned by Chinese auto giant Geely which purchased it from Ford during the global financial crisis a decade ago, Volvo also wants to become “more agile and reduce hierarchies that are slowing down decision-making and execution”.


Among the commitments Volvo has made are electrifying its entire line-up, starting with the full-electric ‘Recharge’ version of the XC40 small SUV – which is due for release in Australia next year – and for half of its global sales to be electric by 2025, with the rest hybrids.


It also has the ambition “to become a supplier of choice for global ride-hailing firms and aims to establish five million direct consumer relationships through new forms of mobility”.

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