Two of my favourite things in the world are cultural learnings and my Volvo so when I can combine the two its a happy day for me. It has been widely reported this week that Volvo Cars to be sold by American company Ford and sold to a Chinese company, Geely. Some out there are concerned that this is the downfall of the Swedish brand as it is now out of Swedish hands… right? Except Volvo has been out of Swedish hands for the last 10 years already, its been owned by the Americans remember?
|One and the same baby|
So whats with this kind of selective memory loss? The answer may be found right in this merry time as we sat down on Christmas Eve, along with 3 million odd other Swedes at 3pm to watch Donald Duck cartoons for an hour. This ritual is upheld with a religious tone among Swedes, to watch Donald Duck is as Swedish as being in your little red country house eating meatballs from an IKEA plate (where is IKEA incorporated again? sorry I don’t mean to be sidetracked). Somehow in the past 50 years this American cartoon has come a firm symbol of Christmas to Swedes so having Americans own Volvo doesn’t seem like its really being owned by someone else. When there was a very high level of immigration from Sweden to American around the turn of the 20th century the word “cousin” and “American” became synonymous.
|Kalle Anka is the name of Donald Duck in Swedish. Anka means duck and Kalle is a boys name that sounds good with Anka|
So far Geely have said they intend to leave Volvo alone and why would we trust them any more than an American company who was once one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world and now teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. What other choice do we have? SAAB has gone to the dogs and wont be sold to the Dutch… but they were concerned about the secret owners of this Dutch company. It seems a bit rough to me that because an American company doesn’t want to sell some used car parts to a Russian company that 3500 Swedes are out of a job before Christmas.
My Volvo was made by an American company, built in Belgium, registered in Estonia, driven by an Australian and now finds it home “back” in Sweden, a country my car never touched tyre to ground in before I brought it here. The press talks a lot about Swedish values and how Swedes will feel now their national symbol is owned by the Chinese. Newsflash guys, its a big world out there and we no longer live in isolated autonomous blocks anymore. I think regular Swedes are smart enough to realise this. If you are upset your national symbol is owned by someone else I think the world must be getting a pretty hard place for you.