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Former Volvo chief moves to V8 Supercars

On Pole: Volvo’s Polestar program raced the Volvo S60 with Garry Rogers Motorsport and Scott McLaughlin last year.

Volvo’s Aussie race tilt leads to Swedish car brand’s former MD joining V8 Supercars

22 Jan 2015

FORMER Volvo Car Australia (VCA) managing director Matt Braid has joined V8 Supercars as commercial director, three months after stepping down from the top job at the Swedish motor vehicle brand.

Mr Braid had worked for VCA since 2003 and took over as managing director in March 2011.

He is credited with taking the brand to record sales – although it did drop 9.3 per cent last year, on the back of a 3.7 per cent fall in 2013 – as well as overseeing the Polestar performance car pilot project and, significant in terms of his new position, taking the brand into V8 Supercar racing.

He arrives as the premier motorsport category in Australia continues its transformation from what was previously a Ford-versus-Holden contest – Ford is pulling out at the end of the 2015 season – to a championship that embraces a variety of brands and is planning to allow different body styles and powertrains, including turbocharged four-cylinder and V6 engines.

“I am absolutely delighted to join the team and such a dynamic sport,” Mr Braid said in a statement released this week.

“I was able to see firsthand the impact V8 Supercars has on a brand and the enormous passion a substantial slice of the Australian population has for the sport.

“The fact that V8 Supercars is right there with the elite codes in this country in attendance and viewership is quite astonishing.”

V8 Supercars chief executive James Warburton described Mr Braid’s appointment as “a coup for the sport as it enters the largest media deal in the V8 Supercars’ history”.

 center imageLeft: V8 Supercars commercial director Matt Braid.

“In the past 18 months we have renewed every major sponsor and extended each of our government agreements to at least the end of 2016,” Mr Warburton said.

“This year we commence the largest media deal in the sport’s history with Foxtel, FOX Sports and Ten which brings with it more live television hours than ever in Australian motorsport history.”

Before becoming managing director of VCA – an opening that arose when his predecessor Alan Desselss was promoted to president and CEO of Volvo Cars Japan – Mr Braid served in a variety of positions including sales director, marketing director and regional business manager.

Prior to joining Volvo he spent three years with Holden as an area manager, and two years in Dubai as market development manager for Bin Dhaher Trading Enterprises.

As GoAuto has reported, a question mark over Volvo’s long-term commitment to V8 racing in Australia emerged recently with the release of its new global strategy, which will see it cut back on sponsorships and pull out of the Swedish Touring Car Championship.

Volvo Cars senior vice-president of marketing, sales and customer service Alain Visser was quoted in the Swedish media as saying that “motorsport does not conform with our brand … we stand for smaller engines and safety”.

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