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Global trade war prompts Volvo to put brakes on its IPO

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Volvo said Monday that the global trade war spurred by U.S. President Donald Trump has forced it to delay its plans for an initial public offering.

“The issues around trade are hard for us because they impact cars shipped between China and the U.S. It’s a huge drawback,” Volvo Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson told Bloomberg during a phone interview. “The risk is that these headwinds will increase.”

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Volvo, which was acquired from Ford by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2010, had reportedly planned to go public as soon as this fall in Stockholm and Beijing.

Earlier this summer, Volvo shifted production of a crossover SUV and a full-size sedan for the U.S. away from China to Sweden. It has also indicated that its plans to export vehicles from a new assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina, may no longer be viable.

Samuelsson said in the interview that building the XC60 in Sweden for the U.S. would be “OK to mitigate,” but that the S90 sedan would be “more difficult.”

Consumers’ preferences for crossover SUVs in the U.S. has affected Volvo’s sales, as well. Its XC60 crossover outsells the S90 sedan by about 4-to-1.

The automaker on Monday also extended its contract with Samuelsson an additional two years to 2022.



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