An article yesterday says Swedish PM Reinfeldt visited Volvo Cars and had a chat with CEO Fredrik Arp. On the issue of developing more climate friendly cars, Arp asked Reinfeldt for more time and not to be slapped with legislation. Because, legislation would only force manufacturers to build smaller cars. And according to Arp, that is not what Volvo’s customers want. They want BIG cars. And Volvo hasn’t yet figured out how to make BIG cars more efficient. Hence, the need for more time.
I must say this is a brilliant play by Arp and hopefully the climate-friendly Reinfeldt will fall for it and give Volvo the time it needs. For the sake of jobs and the stockholders of Volvo (Ford, that is).
Now, you and I know that Volvo has had plenty of time to do their homework. My guess is that they have actively ignored the enviro-signals that were hitting them. They have never seriously worked on fuel efficiency like the Japanese. They have stuck to safety as their prime differentiator. This must be considered a strategy failure. They don’t even have a small car worth naming in their portfolio.
So, instead the owners have collected cash and postponed necessary investments. And now they are asking the Swedish government to be lenient and give them time. Once again taxpayers and consumers in Sweden are given the opportunity to finance the blunders of big business. Come on, you have to admire Volvo (who also are notorious for their tax evasion schemes) to have such nerve.
Volvo has actually pulled off a similar trick to this before, when they in the 70s and 80s stated that Swedish customers didn’t want the catalyst cleaners, although Volvo had developed and was selling the tech to clients in California (interestingly, in compliance to legislation in California). This delayed cleaner air in Sweden all too many years.
Psst. Don’t tell Reinfeldt.