The Korea Herald


North Korea still using Volvo cars imported 43 years ago from Sweden

By Jo He-rim

Published : Oct. 25, 2017 - 16:39

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North Korea is still using the Volvo cars they imported 43 years ago without paying, Voice of America reported citing the Swedish government on Wednesday.

“While it is difficult to find the Volvo cars on Pyongyang roads, one model, ‘Volvo 144’ can be spotted in rural cities, often as taxis,” Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Katarina Roslund has been quoted as saying by the VOA’s Korean Service. 

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

She also said Sweden did not get any payment over the 1,000 Volvo 144 that the North ordered in 1974.

Volvo Cars confirmed the ministry’s statement and added that it cost approximately 600 million Swedish Krona at the time, which translates to $73.4 million now.

“North Korea did not implement the debt repayment, so Swedish Export Credit Agency, a credit insurer, took charge of the debt. We did not see any financial damage from the case,” the company said. It added it does not know whether other automobile components, needed in fixing the cars, were sold together at the time.

The EKN alarms the communist state every six months on their liabilities, though they had not gotten any response. EKN said it would not give up on collecting the debts.

According EKN’s annual report in 2016, North Korea currently owes SEK 2.7 billion ($330 million) to Sweden as the debt has swollen due to the accumulated interest. It said the amount accounts for more than 45 percent of the entire debt owed by 16 countries, and that North Korea is the only debtor that has never implemented a debt repayment.

Switzerland and Finland also reported that they have not received any payment back on the debt of North Korea and said they do not have any plans to write off the debt, the media outlet said.

Volvo 144 is a four-door sedan that was manufactured from 1966 to 1974 in the new car 140 series. During the period, a total of 1.25 million units of the 140 series vehicles have been manufactured and recorded the sales of more than a million units, for the first time in the company’s history.

By Jo He-rim (