Hakan Samuelsson has been named as the new CEO of Volvo Cars, replacing Stefan Jacoby. Samuelsson is tasked to regain profitability, particularly in China, the domestic market of its Chinese owners. The 61-year-old Swede used to head the truck maker MAN. He explained that the products are different but he will be dealing with the same issues with regards to branding, marketing, the sales organization and development. Samuelsson has a lot riding on his shoulders as Volvo is China’s largest international investment in the car industry and it’s also a major employer in the Nordic state as well as being a brand that’s much loved by his countrymen.
He said that his main goal is to take advantage of what Volvo considers as a clear market opportunity to utilize the huge potential of a rising middle class in China. Geely owner Li Shufu, who is referred to as "Chairman Li" among Volvo executives, has backed grand plans for investment of about $11 billion to double annual sales to 800,000 cars by 2020 and increase sales in China to 200,000, from just 47,000 in 2011.
However, Volvo incurred a net loss in the first half of 2012 and has battled difficult markets in Europe and a sluggish economy in China. Jacoby had said that company will fail to meet its target in China by 2015 as planned. Jacoby had a mild stroke last September. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group bought Volvo from Ford in 2010 for $1.8 billion.