DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

Volvo dealers get crash course on conquests

Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
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Volvo’s head of Europe says that his dealers have had to get used to something new: knowing how to cash in on conquest sales.

“Two to three years ago we didn't have any conquest sales. Now it's a factor that we have to work on,” Anders Gustafsson told me. “We have to educate our dealers on which cars and which trim lines to take as a trade.”

For years, Volvo's lineup failed to convince owners of BMWs and Audis to switch brands. That changed with the arrival of the new XC90, V90 and S90. Now Volvo’s European retailers are racing to familiarize themselves with the nuances that add or subtract value from rival premium models. That way they know which trade-ins will do best in the used car market.

“They need to understand the trade-in process,” Gustafsson said. “Taking some cars, depending on the trim level, can be really bad because they just won't sell.”

'Year of SPA'

During our conversation Gustafsson also predicted a big year for models underpinned by the automaker’s scalable product architecture (SPA), which includes the XC90 and the second-generation XC60 that will start arriving at dealers this summer

“This will be the year of SPA,” Gustafsson said. “We expect to double our sales of cars using this architecture.”

Last year Volvo sold 39,391 SPA-based cars in Europe, according to JATO Dynamics. That represented a 14 percent share of the automaker’s overall sales of 282,720 vehicles in the region last year.

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com.

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