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Volvo aims for 7000 sales in Australia

Powering on: A full year of XC60 sales will help to lift Volvo volumes this year, along with the facelifted C30.

New-model onslaught heralds exciting times, says Volvo

Volvo logo11 May 2010

VOLVO CAR says a raft of new models, combined with the ownership resolution and injection of fresh resources that Geely will bring, will help drive sales to the 7000 mark in Australia within the next few years.

The goal for this year is 5000 units, spurred on by the XC60 luxury SUV’s first full year of availability, as well as the arrival of the revised C30 range (that includes the DRIVe eco model) and the facelifted C70 coupe convertible.

The latter has the potential to bring in up to 400 buyers into the Volvo fold in 2010, potentially doubling the figures achieved by its predecessor last year. Aiding that is the demise (albeit temporary) of its arch rival Saab 9-3 Convertible.

Total Volvo Car sales in Australia rose a modest 4.5 per cent in 2009 from 4469 to 4668, but this gain went against the 7.4 per cent overall drop in new vehicle volume, thanks to the welcome reception enjoyed by the XC60.

This year it has even usurped the ageing XC90 to become the bestseller for Volvo Car Australia (VCA).

But next year, the company expects an even stronger boost in buyer activity, thanks to the release of the second-generation S60 sedan.

Due to arrive late this year, it will give VCA its first real tilt at the BMW 3 Series market in almost a decade. The previous S60 dates back to January 2001.

The sedan will be followed is 2011 by the as-yet unrevealed V60 wagon, bridging the gap between the small-car based V50 that has been seeing duty since 2004, and the three-year-old V70/XC70 range.

 center imageFrom top: Volvo S60, C30 T5 R-Design, C70 and C30 DRIVe.

Expect to see the V60 at the Paris motor show in September.

“The S60 will do for us what the XC60 has done in the luxury SUV class,” says VCA managing director Alan Desselss.

“People will (at last) be able to make a direct comparison with (the Germans).

“The idea is to get all the models kicking goals. I want to get beyond 5000 cars this year. And the only way I can do that is to get every model to play its part.”

VCA’s previous star performer, the XC90, will be redesigned inside and out for a 2012 release, giving the Swedes fresh impetus in the luxury seven-seater crossover wagon market that they have dominated since 2002.

This car was meant to have arrived this year, but the impending Volvo sale put the project on hold in 2008 as the company’s future was up in the air amid the global financial crisis.

The Volvo boss believes that the ongoing speculation about who was going to buy the brand from the then-ailing Ford Motor Company since the ‘for sale’ board was erected in 2008 has not helped VCA’s cause due to customer uncertainty surrounding where the company may be heading.

But the news that Chinese owner-in-waiting, Zhejiang Geely, is planning to invest millions of dollars to nearly double Volvo volume from last year’s 334,808 to 600,000 units a year has been extremely well received, according to Mr Desselss.

He added that the placement of former Volvo Cars CEO and 40-year-plus company veteran Hans-Olov Olsson as a board member illustrated that the company’s control was still in Swedish hands.

“I don’t think it will affect us in Australia one iota,” Mr Desselss said. “We will continue to report back to Sweden. Two holding companies will be created – one being Geely Automotive and the other being Volvo, and they will be run in total isolation of each other.

“The appointment of Hans-Olov Olsson to the board is very important from a Swedish point of view to give confidence back to the Swedes that Volvo will continue to be run by the Swedes as such.

“With Volvo globally (potentially) selling around 600,000 cars (in the future with a new Geely factory in China supplying the Chinese market) then that opens up a whole new opportunity in terms of economies of scale, so it’s a very, very exciting time for us.”

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