Car production footprint in Europe is safe, says Volvo CEO

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 11, 2013

The slump in sales of Volvo Car Corp. in Europe may be coming to an end, according to CEO Hakan Samuelsson. He also said that figures will be “slightly better” in 2014 and 2015. He observed European sales to be levelling out and thinks that even with the long-term overcapacity in the region, its car production footprint in Europe is safe.

When interviewed by Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive News, Samuelsson said that Volvo is in a good position with two plants in Europe and so he doesn’t think that the overcapacity issue will be a factor. He explained that Volvo is flexible and will be able to cope with the volumes being a bit lower. From the start of the year until October, the brand’s European sales had fallen by 4% to 181,434 units.

However, its overall 10-month global volume was flat at 346,844 units due to the high demand in China, where series production of the Volvo S60L in Chengdu had begun this week.

Volvo’s plants in Europe are located in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Ghent, Belgium. In these two countries, several factors have already shut down due to the poor sales in the region.

Its sales are likely to fall for a sixth consecutive year in 2013, with registrations on pace to drop to about 12 million units from 16 million in 2007.

Volvo was buoyed up by the V40, which made its debut late last year and by the V40 CC, which went on sale this year. Through October, Volvo was able to sell a combined 79,555 units of the cars worldwide. Most of the volume has been in Europe.

These are impressive numbers, considering that these cars are not available in the U.S., something that Samuelsson wants to change.

He said that the market is downsizing and so premium cars that are a bit smaller than the V60 (such as the 40 series) could have a presence. He is aiming for these cars to soon arrive in the U.S. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

Topics: volvo, europe, production

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