Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson has helped turn around the Swedish automaker. Through nine months, Volvo’s global sales were up 9 percent to 339,200 vehicles. In addition, the brand is growing at a faster rate than BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz in Europe and China. Samuelsson expects Volvo’s rise to continue in 2015 as it rolls out the second-generation XC90, which is a key part of the automaker’s plan to boost annual global vehicle sales to 800,000 by 2020. Samuelsson spoke with Automotive News Europe Managing Editor Douglas A. Bolduc and Automotive News Reporter Diana T. Kurylko.
What is the 2015 outlook for Volvo in Europe, the U.S. and China?
We want to grow in all three areas. We may not grow in China at the same rate as 2014 [China sales were up 36 percent through three quarters], but we want to continue to grow significantly. In the U.S. we knew that this year would be challenging [nine-month sales were down 11 percent]. We will go down in volume, slightly, but we will grow next year predominantly driven by the XC90. We haven’t refined the volume target but next year should be a year of year-over-year growth in the U.S. In Europe we plan to grow both in volume and in share.
Volvo’s European sales through September were up 12 percent, which is better than BMW, Audi and Mercedes.
We are outperforming the three German premium manufacturers in Europe and in China. We are growing faster than them in Europe and in China.
But this is because you’re starting from a lower base, right?
It’s better than growing slower than the three.