DETROIT -- Volvo wants to grow faster than the U.S. auto market in 2011 after missing out on last year's improvement in overall auto sales, its chief executive says.
"We are switching the mode from defense to offense," Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volvo Car Corp., said in an interview last week at the Detroit auto show.
The United States is crucial to the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker. It was Volvo's top market last year, despite a 12 percent slide to 53,952 units. The decline was so severe that the United States was nearly passed by Sweden.
The overall U.S. market rose 11 percent last year to 11.6 million units, from a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009.
Jacoby said overall U.S. sales are predicted to grow by about 9 percent this year, and Volvo aims to top that.
He said one key to growth would be the redesigned S60 medium-premium sedan, which debuted last year.
Volvo also plans to spend more on advertising this year, Doug Speck, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, said in a separate interview. Speck said spending in the first quarter alone will match what the company spent last year.
He said Volvo has the money to spend because new owner Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is investing in the brand. Geely took over Volvo from Ford Motor Co. last summer.
Volvo's overall target of 800,000 global sales by 2020 is very ambitious -- its best annual sales total was 458,323 in 2007 -- because it expects huge gains in China.
Jacoby, who said in October that Volvo may need as many as three plants in China, said Volvo will provide details on its plans later this quarter.