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Volvo Accelerating Plans for China

When is a Swedish carmaker not a Swedish carmaker?

by on Apr.30, 2012

The Volvo Concept You hints at the direction the maker plans to take, including its shift to small 4-cylinder and battery-based powertrains.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to call Volvo a Swedish car company.  These days, most of its top management – headed by CEO Stefan Jacoby, a former Volkswagen executive – is German and it is now owned by China’s big Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

Further confusing things, Volkswagen may soon have as much or more production capacity in China as it does in Europe, Jacoby confided in during a conversation at the Beijing Motor Show.

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Work is already underway to erect Volvo’s first Chinese assembly plant and, he confirmed, everything is in place to add a second Chinese factory.  But now, he revealed, “We are considerating a powertrain plant in the greater Beijing region” that would likely meet most or all the engine and transmission needs for both those assembly lines.


Volvo Aiming To Double Sales by 2020

Swedish maker counting on big growth in China – but U.S. remains critical.

by on Nov.23, 2010

The hare beats the tortoise? Stefan Jacoby plans to get Volvo moving fast under its new Chinese owners.

According to Aesop, it took the slow but steady tortoise to beat the hare.  Don’t count on it, says Volvo Cars’ news CEO, Stefan Jacoby.  In today’s ever more competitive auto market, “the fast ones are eating the slow ones.”

Never known for setting a benchmark pace, the former Volkswagen executive says Volvo now plans to be “leaner, better, smarter and, especially, faster,” as it adjusts to life under Chinese ownership.

Sold earlier this year by Ford Motor Co., which decided it needs to get back to basics, Volvo hopes to more than double sales – to 800,000 annually – by 2020.  That goal will not only require speed by a shift in focus, Jacoby told  Look for Volvo to put more emphasis on emerging markets, including places like Brazil, as well as China.  But, Jacoby cautioned, don’t expect the maker to walk away from the U.S., which has traditionally served as its largest single source of sales.

The sale of Volvo to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group came at a critical came, said Jacoby.  The maker has suffered a significant slide, in recent years, only partially to blame on the global economic downturn.  Global sales are expected to reach just 380,000 for all of 2010, and in the U.S. demand is off almost 60% from its 2004 peak – from 140,000 down to just 60,000.

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But Jacoby is the proverbial optimist, looking at what he sees as a half-full glass.  “We are standing at the bottom looking up,” he said.

Part of the challenge will be to find the way to take advantage of the resources – and potential – offered by the Swedish maker’s new parent and Volvo’s Chinese sibling, the Geely brand.