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Volvo targets 40 per cent growth

Sales ambition: Volvo will rely on new models, like the V60 (pictured) to boost sales for this year and beyond.

Swedish brand Volvo is confident its new S60 and V60 models will greatly boost sales

4 Apr 2011

VOLVO Car Australia is hoping to breach the 7000 unit sales mark this year on the back of the all-new S60 and V60 released last week, as well as a revised XC60 introduced three weeks earlier.

This would represent a huge 41.5 per cent increase over last year’s result of 4945 sales, which was only 5.9 per cent more than in 2009.

Volume is up by 16.2 per cent for January and February, but new managing director Matt Braid believes the company’s growth targets for the rest of this year are both conservative and sustainable.

“7000 units is the target for 2011, and we are well on track to do that,” said Mr Braid.

“With the help of the V60 … we are confident we will be one of the strongest players in the segment.

“Even at 3000 units we have traditionally been profitable, so it hasn’t been a situation of turning from a loss to a profit, and that has been a great thing for us. The 7000 mark for us is about further establishing the brand in the premium segment.

“Quite clearly, we do not want to knock off Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but when you hit 7000 units you appear to get critical mass, where you start to sustain yourself with momentum. Getting to 7000 will be hard, but then getting to 8000 to 10,000 units will be relatively easy by comparison because of that momentum.

 center imageFrom top: Volvo Car Australia managing director Matt Braid, Volvo XC60, Volvo S60.

“But we are not chasing another brand. If we tread on a couple, then that’s great. But our mission is all about where Volvo should be instead of who we need to be chasing.

“It would be nice to lead the segment, but we have a long way to go and we need to figure out where our brand sits. Certainly where it sits elsewhere in the globe there is opportunity here in Australia to develop where Volvo sits among that crowd.”

Speaking to GoAuto at the introduction of the V60 late last month, the Mr Braid said that new owner Geely of China will have a very hands-off approach to the way the Swedish brand is run.

However, he quickly added that the new owners are already heavily committed to future model development, with fresh product initiatives now moving forward after the limbo period surrounding the Ford sale.

“I wouldn’t say that the change of ownership (late last year) has altered anything dramatically, but certainly coming out of the sale process has. It would be unfair to have a crack at our previous owners, but obviously times were tough under (Ford).

“Geely is grabbing hold of the business as their own … the message we are getting out of them is that they are very focussed at maintaining the Swedishness of Volvo, and further promoting and expanding on that.

“They also want to make sure and overstress the situation that Volvo is separate to Geely as brands, and they know that the value of the (Volvo) brand is in its entity and what it can provide as a luxury brand … and ‘where can we take this?’ is what we are hearing.

“The feedback is now very geared up to looking at new opportunities, which the sales process – and not Ford ownership – put a stymie on that, because it was clearly the pause button being hit pending the sale, and the ability to get things going was very difficult.

“But now we have the new owners in place, they are formulating a strategy for the company going forward, which is a positive one, and from our point of view we are looking forward to that.

“It will reflect on us not just as a business but also because of the product we get and the budgets we get going forward, and the outlook is much better than it was under the sales process.

“The product that we have got coming has not changed because of the change of ownership. Geely are not making Volvo a Chinese company.”

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