Staff Reporter

Plans Rs. 70 crore bus body building facility in Bangalore

CHENNAI: Swedish automaker giant Volvo will enter the Indian car market with imported cars by the middle of the current year.

Volvo, which will sell passenger cars through distributors in three key cities, will also invest 110 million Swedish kronor (Rs. 70 crore) for a bus body building facility in Bangalore that will create 700 jobs. Apart from New Delhi and Mumbai, Volvo will have a distributor in a third yet-to-be-finalised city for its cars.

Volvo along with Ericsson, which too proposes to expand its business goals in the Indian market, is expected to spearhead increased inflows of Swedish investment into India.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson, who headed a business delegation to Chennai, underscored Sweden's keenness to participate in India's buzzing economy, `to work together and take part in the economic development.'

The two-way bilateral trade stood at around $2 billion in 2006, representing a 41 per cent increase from the previous year, Swedish Ambassador Harald Falth said.

Welcoming Sony Ericsson's announcement on Wednesday that it would start manufacturing handsets at Sriperumbudur, Union Minister for Communications and IT Dayanidhi Maran said this completed the chain of the world's top mobile handset makers setting up manufacturing operations in India, most of them in Chennai. He made a pitch for further investments in Tamil Nadu, saying that the State had proved its competence in the ICT and automotive sectors, two of the key areas for Indo-Swedish collaboration and trade.

Ericsson India's Managing Director Mats Granryd said Sweden's high focus on India was partly because of the `happening market' here.

Earlier, addressing the India-Sweden Business Forum, Ms. Olofsson encouraged India to work together with Sweden to solve global problems such as climate change. "For the first time, I celebrated New Year without snow," she said, underscoring the seriousness of the issue.

While urging called for co-operation on the world's political stage to negotiate a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol by 2009 and emphasised the role of corporate players as well. On the development front, Swedish NGO Hand in Hand, which now has a presence in Tamil Nadu, is willing to expand to other States if it gets corporate support, Percy Barnevik, Swedish industrialist, said.