It turns out that Volvo, a car manufacturer from Sweden, was ‘tricked’ by North Korea. At that time North Korea ordered a car to Volvo but was not paid. How come?
Reporting from the National Public Radio page, it is known that in the 1970s several companies from Sweden agreed to export to North Korea.
This was accomplished by signing major trade contracts with North Korea and shipping tons of Swedish-made industrial equipment to North Korea, including mining equipment and 1,000 Volvo 144 cars.
This 4-door sedan, which was produced until 1974, was intended to serve as a ‘greeting’ for the economic cooperation that Sweden and North Korea would establish. At that time, Sweden was convinced that North Korea’s economy could still grow and could become a promising new market for them.
Without hesitation, Sweden sent 1,000 units of this Volvo car with a value of more than 70 million US dollars or the equivalent of 1 trillion rupiah.
However, instead of being paid and able to become a new market for Sweden and Volvo, North Korea simply ignored the debt collection after receiving the cars. Even that bill was not paid until now.
According to the Swedish Export Credit Agency, North Korea’s debt to Sweden for the cars has grown over the years to $322 million. Sweden still sends warnings twice a year to Pyongyang, but the North Korean government has been reluctant to heed the bill.
Even though they felt cheated, in the end Sweden thought that the cars were the cost they had to pay to open a path of diplomacy with North Korea. At that time, thanks to the car manufacturer Volvo, Sweden managed to open an embassy in Pyongyang and build trust with North Korea
It is also known that after nearly 50 years, the car equipped with the 1.8L B18A/B I4 engine is still operating in North Korea. There are still many Volvo 144s milling about as taxis, especially in the Pyongyang area.
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