Don’t like the taste of Swedes? Well neither does Volvo's new Chinese owner

 

Are Volvos too Swedish? They are, according to Li Shufu, head of the Chinese firm that bought the car manufacturer in 2010. He told a TV interview that the interiors “feel too Scandinavian”, and the management’s a bit Swedish, too, whatever that means. Volvo’s PR team has swung into action to insist Mr Shufu’s comments got lost in translation, but maybe he’s onto something. Here, Trending presents a handy guide to what is and isn’t  “too Scandinavian”.

Ikea – not too Swedish

Life doesn’t get more Swedish than a white flatpack. But the world has gone tonto for them: there are 338 stores in 40 countries, with China knocking cupboards up as quickly as power stations. The designs are bland enough to adapt to any look. Like Kate Moss, that’s the secret of their success.

Meatballs – not too Swedish

Every culture had the idea of grinding up meat and adding sauce. But eat them at Ikea (qv) and you’ve crossed the line.

Pickled herring: too Swedish

Three words: why would you?

The Killing: not too Scandinavian

Set in Copenhagen, this is a Danish production, before anyone accuses Trending of lumping Scandis in together. But this cop drama has universal appeal and became an international hit. Sofie Gråbøl is a UK celebrity and America simply said “We’ll have that,” and remade the whole thing.

Abba: not too Swedish

They owned the 70s and no wedding can function without them. Their brand of Euro synth pop is practically an international language of  its own. But best listened to,  not watched –too many YouTube clips and you may  start seeing meatballs.  

Agnetha’s solo career: too Swedish

Proof that Trending bases its verdicts on hard facts – ABBA alumnus Agnetha’s first solo album shot to Number 1 in every Scandinavian country, but got a “meh” from everywhere else. Some things just don’t travel.

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