Volvo is a brand that is known for its extremely safe but stodgy vehicles. The company which is highly popular in its home country is now seeking to change this reputation and get a greater share of the global market with the launch of several new models.
According to the Senior Vice-President of the company, Anders Gustaffson, Volvo has a 20 per cent share of the market in Sweden but accounts for only one per cent share of the global automotive market. In the medium term, Volvo plans to increase this to 2 per cent with its strategy to revamp the brand image and the production lineup.
The company will add several new models that will have cutting-edge features and design in order to makeover the “boring” image that the brand currently has. The strategy seems to be paying off, with global sales breaching the half million mark for the first time in 2015 with delivery of 503,127 units, underpinned by the success of the XC90, its popular SUV. From here, the target of achieving sales of 800,000 units by 2020 does not seem to be too much of a stretch.
According to Gustafsson, by 2019, with the gradual introduction of new models, the company will have a range of completely new cars with the XC90, that is currently its best selling model becoming the oldest model. The new vehicles will be totally new from the drawing board to the production line – with new engines, transmissions, power trains and almost 95-98 per cent of the parts also being brand new. With the debut of these new models, the company hopes to build on the success of the X90, which has created a space for Volvo in the premium segment and accounts for more than 35 per cent of its deliveries. Another model for which the company has great hopes is the XC60, in view of the current popularity of CUVs.
The most notable of the new launches is the eye-catching S90 sedan which made its global debut last December and is meant to replace the S80. Its production is scheduled to start after summer.
“If Volvo has to be taken seriously as a premium automotive brand contender, we really need to have a good looking sedan,” said Gustafsson. “That meant having to incorporate a new way of designing cars and not just facelifts.”
He added that this strategy would be applied across all the company’s upcoming models to support its growth in the premium segment.
Volvo is also expanding its manufacturing footprint. It currently has plants in Sweden, Belgium and China and is constructing a new factory in South Carolina, United States to cater to the brand’s increasing popularity in that market, with sales going up by 24.3 per cent. The US is Volvo’s third largest market, next to Sweden and China (16 per cent market share).
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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