Volvo Trucks to Lay Off 300 Virginia Factory Workers

July 19, 2016 by Clarissa Hawes

Volvo Trucks North America plans to lay off 300 workers at its New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Va., in September.

The Swedish truck company blamed sagging sales in the heavy-duty truck market for the cutback. It follows a layoff of 500 employees at the Virginia factory in February.

“It’s by now very clear that the industry is managing through a period of excess inventory and reduced demand,” John Mies, Volvo’s U.S. spokesman, said Tuesday. “And we’re seeing that softening particularly in the long-haul segment, which is core for Volvo.”

Volvo on Tuesday also reported profits and sales fell in the second quarter. The company also lowered its industrywide 2016 North American market forecast to 240,000 units, down 10,000 trucks from its first quarter projection of 250,000. In the last quarter of 2015, Volvo had anticipated the industry would build 327,000 trucks for the North American market.

“This reduction at the plant is a step in our continued adaptation to market conditions,” Mies told Trucks.com.

Approximately 1,950 workers will remain at the plant, Mies said. It had employed about 2,800 employees at the beginning of 2016. The 1.6 million-square foot New River Valley Plant is Volvo’s  largest truck manufacturing facility in the world.

In June, Class 8 truck orders hit a four-year low, according to Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. ACT provides monthly market analysis and forecasting for the new and used commercial vehicle market in North America.

Other truck manufacturers also are reducing employment. Daimler Trucks North America said last month it was laying off 1,240 workers at three factories in the U.S. and one in Mexico because of slowing sales.

In its financial report Tuesday, Volvo Trucks blamed a weakening market in North America and continued low demand in South America and other emerging markets for the profit and sales declines.

The company’s second quarter profit fell 38 percent to 1.9 billion kronor ($222 million) from the same period a year earlier. Sales slid 7 percent to 78.9 billion kroner ($9.2 million) from the same period a year earlier.

Volvo, which is no longer related to the car company, said its global truck deliveries of trucks dipped 5 percent in the period.

The truck company also said Tuesday that it has reached a settlement with the European Commission putting an end to a long-running antitrust investigation. Volvo will pay a fine of 670 million euros ($739 million.)

The anti-trust investigation looked into price fixing of truck sales in Europe between 1997 and January 2011 and involved Volvo and four other manufacturers.

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