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Volvo to temporarily close plants in US and Sweden

The Volvo plant in South Carolina in the US has been shut until April 14 amid the global pandemic.
The Volvo plant in South Carolina in the US has been shut until April 14 amid the global pandemic.
Image: Logan Cyrus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Swedish carmaker Volvo is suspending production at its factories in Sweden, the US and Belgium to curb the spread of the coronavirus, it said on Friday - even as it resumes manufacturing in China, where the infection rate has slowed.

Volvo's Swedish factories in Torslanda, Skovde and Olofstrom, and its US plant in South Carolina will close between March 26 and April 14, the company said. Its plant in Ghent, Belgium, has already temporarily shut down.

"Our primary concerns are the health of our employees and the future of our business," said chief executive Hakan Samuelsson.

"I think for the economy, we need to do something drastic, rather than trying half-hearted measures that drag on forever."

"We are seeing the effect from this coronavirus is increasing every day. We see problems in the logistics supply side," he told Reuters.

"We have to help contribute to social distancing."

Samuelsson said the financial impact of the shutdown would become clearer when the company published first-half earnings. The company will reduce the working hours of white-collar staff during the factory closures and will take advantage of government incentives, he said.

The financial impact on Volvo also depended on how different countries reacted to contain the virus.

"There is a big difference between countries. Some have curfews, with restaurants and schools closed. In other countries there are less drastic measures. I think we need to synchronise that more."

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