Volvo withdraws from Conexpo on the eve of the event over Coronavirus fears

All group entities pull out as company puts health and safety of employees, customers and public first after three US states declare Covid-19 emergency

In the latest impact that the spread of the Coronavirus Covid-19 has had on the construction and equipment industries, the Volvo Group has announced that it is withdrawing from participation in the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 exhibition, which begins in Las Vegas tomorrow.

A statement from Volvo said that with “California joining Washington state and Florida in declaring a state of emergency to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus Covid-19” the company was prompted to take a decision “that all business areas within the Volvo Group will withdraw from their participation in (the) ConExpo exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada. This includes all relevant Volvo business areas, Volvo Construction Equipment, Volvo Penta, Volvo Financial Services, Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, SDLG and Terex Trucks”.

Melker Jernberg, executive VP and president, Volvo CE, said: “We are great supporters of Conexpo, and despite being in advanced preparations for this year’s event, we believe it is the right thing to do to withdraw at this late stage. Our first concern is the wellbeing of employees, customers and the wider public.

“It’s very disappointing not to be attending, but our first priority is the health and safety of our employees and others. Given this, it is with reluctance that it has been decided not to participate in this year’s show.”

Tiffany Cheng, global director for internal communications with Volvo CE, was quoted in the international media as saying: ”The Volvo group has been monitoring the conditions with regards the spread of Coronavirus closely over recent weeks, and putting contingency plans in place should they worsen. The announcement of a state of emergency in Washington, Florida and neighbouring California… tipped the balance in favour of caution, and prioritising health and safety over all other considerations.”

Cheng added that there were “significant costs attached to this decision”, though she did not disclose any figures. Volvo was to have a 60,000sqft display area at the event, which will be “completed and secured”, Cheng said.

An official statement from Volvo CE added: “Since announcing our decision to withdraw from Conexpo-Con/Agg 2020 due to the coronavirus, Volvo CE has been working very closely with our partners at (show organisers) AEM to determine the best path forward. At this point in preparations, it would not be possible for Volvo CE to remove the equipment and dismantle the booth before the show begins.

“Instead, a small number of locally hired independent staff will remain on the site for the duration of the show. The booth will be ready for show opening on Tuesday, March 10th. Volvo CE is deeply appreciative of AEM’s collaboration in this difficult moment and recognises the great value that the Conexpo-Con/Agg show brings to our industry and our customers every three years.”

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