Volvo is serving notices of redundancy to 1,300 of its staff in white-collar positions at its operations in Sweden, along with a continued review and reduction of consultancy contracts, the Swedish automaker said in a statement yesterday. The exact nature and number of jobs to be reduced will be decided over the coming months through negotiations with unions, though its manufacturing operations will not be affected, it said.

The company employs 24,000 staff in Sweden in addition to around 2,000 consultants, Reuters reported. The move to restructure its personnel has been in line with ongoing realignment of the company’s operations in line with ‘long-term ambitions and the need structural cost reductions’, said Volvo, however the coronavirus pandemic has “increased the pertinence of the measures announced today.”

“The coronavirus pandemic is affecting us in the short term, but we expect volumes and growth to return. So, we need to continue investing in our ongoing transformation and new business areas, by reducing structural costs,” said Volvo head of people experience Hanna Fager.

While Volvo Cars has invested and grown substantially in the areas of online business, electrification, autonomous drive and new mobility models, it aims to reduce efforts in non-focus areas in order to support further growth in the longer term, the automaker said. On the organisational front, the firm also aims to “become more agile and reduce hierarchies that are slowing down decision-making and execution,” it added.

Earlier this month saw Volvo’s first quarter performance sustain a 18.2% drop to 131,889 vehicles sold globally this year, compared to the same quarter in 2019. Volvo sold 46,395 cars in March, or 31.2% down from the same month last year, while sales in Europe for Q1 2020 was down 18.5% from Q1 2019.

On the other hand, the Chinese market is appearing to revitalise as Volvo claims improved showroom traffic in China, said the Geely-owned Swedish brand as it re-opened four of its manufacturing plants in the country last month.