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Volvo Cars CEO says fossil-fuel car end date pledge a 'clear signal' to market

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FILE PHOTO: Volvo Car Group CEO Hakan Samuelsson speaks at the 88th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland
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(This Nov. 10 story corrects to read Volvo Cars in headline and paragraphs 1 and 3)

GLASGOW (Reuters) - A move by governments to agree to phase out production of fossil fuel-driven cars and vans by 2040 was important in sending "a clear signal" to the market, the chief executive of Volvo Cars told Reuters.

"I think the industry's quite good at making electric cars, but the industry will not start if the industry (doesn't) believe this will happen," Hakan Samuelsson said on the sidelines of the COP26 climate talks in Scotland.

"That's why I think it's so important to have a very clear signal from governments," he said, referring to a pledge signed on Wednesday by companies including Volvo Cars and Ford and countries and cities including India and Seoul.

"The same goes, of course, for charging infrastructure, battery production. They (also) need... clear signals. But then the market and competition will be very powerful in speeding up the development," he said.

The pledge would have an impact on some of the company's operations and workers, for example those involved in the manufacture of diesel engines and gearboxes.

"The reality there will change, but there (are) a lot of new components; e-motors, we need more software engineers. So it's a structural change which we should positively go into with an ambition to support the people who work in these areas," he said.

"Because it has to change... if we don't change our industry we will not have an industry in the future."

(Reporting by Simon Jessop and Noemie Olive; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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