“Largest car theft in history”: Did North Korea steal Volvo cars from Sweden?

North Korea

 Felix Abt

“The Express”, just like the rest of the Western North Korea-bashing media bubble, likes to talk fact-free about the alleged biggest car theft in history.

Let’s debunk an old propaganda myth perpetuated by the Western mainstream media with facts.

In the 1970s, North Korea expanded its trade relations with the West. With its rapidly growing exports, the country believed it could pay for its imports, including Volvo cars. However, as political tensions increased and the economy deteriorated, the country was no longer able to repay its debts.

The sale of the Volvos was insured through the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN). Volvo Cars was not financially harmed because EKN intervened when North Korea failed to pay for the vehicles, according to a company spokesperson: “The deal was closed from our point of view.”

Author on a visit to Pyongyang, using a cab imported from China (and paid for in advance).

In the March 2012 issue of KDI Review of the North Korean Economy, published by the Korea Development Institute, a South Korean think tank, Yang Moon-soo, a professor of North Korean economics at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said Pyongyang must have been confident of its solvency at the time because prices of gold, silver, lead and zinc and other North Korean exports were rising.

Many countries have not paid their debts to Sweden. For various reasons, the buyers were no longer able to pay the seller Volvo, but Volvo was insured and did not accuse anyone of wrongdoing. Only North Korea was singled out by the media and pundits and accused of “theft”!