Volvo hires Shandwick to raise safety profile

Volvo has appointed Shandwick public affairs on a contract basis to raise its profile on safety and environmental issues with political audiences.

Volvo has appointed Shandwick public affairs on a contract basis to

raise its profile on safety and environmental issues with political

audiences.



Volvo has not used a lobbying agency before. The Swedish car firm has

built its brand on safety and Shandwick’s appointment comes a few weeks

after Volvo’s decision to sell its car arm to the Ford Motor

Company.



Following the deal, Volvo and Ford will share the Volvo brand.



Shandwick will communicate Volvo’s record on safety and the environment

to the Government, including members of its cleaner vehicles task force

and the advisory committee on transport and safety, as well as think

tanks and consumer journalists.



Shandwick won the contract earlier this month after a non-competitive

pitch. The account will be led by Shandwick public affairs director Jon

McLeod, who will report to Volvo’s PR director, John Lefley. Volvo does

not have any dedicated, in-house government relations staff and the

function comes within Lefley’s remit.



Commenting on Shandwick’s appointment, Lefley said: ’This is to help us

on safety and environment issues, which are high on the consumer

agenda.



It’s an area in which we have something to say. We feel we’ve been ahead

of legislation in this area - it’s one of the benefits of having a

Swedish parent company.’



Volvo’s UK arm is located in Marlow in Buckinghamshire and the company

uses Marlow-based agency Gordon Bruce for its consumer PR.



Volvo’s Swedish parent company registered a turnover of over pounds 14

billion for 1997 with profits of over pounds 800 million.



The company struck a deal with Ford last month to sell it Volvo’s

worldwide passenger vehicle business for around pounds 4 billion. Volvo

will retain other arms such as its lorry division. The deal is subject

to shareholder approval.



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