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Quiet achiever Volvo nudges 10K sales

Plug-ins: The Volvo SUV range includes plug-in hybrids and the full-electric XC40 has just launched.

Volvo reaches sales record in Aus with two months to go, ahead of EV-only switch


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15 Nov 2021

VOLVO has just quietly soared up the new-car charts with a 10-month sales figure that exceeds any full year result in its history on the Australian market.


In doing so, Volvo has in 10 years gone from holding 0.5 per cent of the market to 0.9 per cent, selling 7932 units in the 10 months to October 31 compared with 4945 in the whole of 2010.


Based on its performance this year, the Swedish car company and one of the main assets of China’s Geely group, will get close to cracking 10,000 units for the 2021 calendar year.


Much of the boost has come from new products but Volvo in Australia also points to its new showrooms that extoll the unique Swedish experience not only in the cars themselves but through architecture, decor and customer-focused facilities.


All of Australia’s Volvo 32 dealers have made the change to the new corporate identity, and all completed this during the disruptive pandemic.


It is a solid outcome from Volvo, which has also slimmed its model line-up from 10 in 2010-2016 to seven this year.


Even the remaining models will be juggled in the future, to leave room for the beginning of Volvo’s all-electric range that opened in September this year with the XC40 P8 Recharge Pure Electric and will be extended in 2022 with the C40 Recharge Pure Electric.


A hint of future sales for the brand could be that the local 2021 allocation for the Pure Electric has already been filled by eager Australians and Volvo has requested the factory to supply extra cars for the coming year.


Volvo globally plans to sell only electric cars from 2030 but in Australia, managing director Stephen Connor wants to hit that target by 2025.


Most Volvo models carry some form of hybridisation, with only the XC40 existing as a petrol-only variant, though it is offered with alternative Pure Electric and plug-in hybrid variants also available. 


Plug-in hybrid versions are also available in XC60 and XC90 and these will both be enhanced late this year and early next year with an extended electric-only range to 90km.


This pathway to electrification is a complete change for the Swede we knew in the previous decade.


In 2009, with 10 models including the retro-style C30 three-door, it sold 4668 models with the biggest share going to the XC60 (1699 units) followed by the XC90 (1206 units). The C30 was its third-best seller at 537 sales.


Within two years the C30 had gone, making way for more SUVs. 


In 2016, sales climbed to 5878 on the back of the second-generation XC90 that tripled the sales of the previous year. The XC90 sales were up to 1489 that year – up 176.7 per cent on 2015 – and made up 25 per cent of all Volvo sales.


The XC60 did even better. Even though it was not due for replacement until 2018, this smaller SUV hit the nail on the head with its more city-friendly size compared with the seven-seat XC90.


In 2016, it sold 2134 units for 36 per cent of the brand’s sales. The V40, the next-best seller that year, found 1129 buyers while in a show of SUV strength, Volvo quietly ended sales of the S80 sedan.


The market this year condenses buyer demand for SUVs. In year-to-date figures for 2021, the XC40 is the best seller with 44 per cent of the brand’s total sales, selling 3498 units. This result was up 43 per cent on the 10 months of the previous year.


The XC60 was second with 3065 sales, up 29.7 per cent on the corresponding period in 2020, for 39 per cent of the brand’s sales. 


The third best was the XC90 that had a 70.5 per cent sales hike on 2020 with 1163 sales. It remains a significant contributor with 15 per cent of the brand’s sales.


Declining attention is shown in the more conservative passenger-car S60 that on its way to history, sold 118 units this year to date, down 45.6 per cent on the same period of 2020. 


The S60 sedan’s sales this year represent only 1.5 per cent of the car-maker’s total sales in Australia.

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