Volvo has been hiring more people and has raised its marketing budget as it finalizes the details of a 10-year strategy to double U.S. sales under its new parent, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which bought Volvo from Ford last August. Doug Speck, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, said that this is a sign that its Chinese owners are “making strategic investments again.”
Over the next five years, Zhejiang Geely plans to spend up to $11 billion on new Volvo products and facilities.
Volvo’s growth strategy in the U.S. is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter. In the three years that Ford had been trying to find a buyer, Volvo’s staff was reduced and it didn’t replace several key models, like the XC90 crossover that came out in October 2002.
Speck said that he can’t share details about the strategy but he said that this plan will cover brand positioning, product, powertrain, personnel, network targets and basically all the variables necessary that have an impact on the company’s ability to succeed in the market.
Speck said that Volvo’s expenses for the second quarter of 2011 are higher than what it spent for the entire 2010. Among the new hires is a social media team composed of four people who will be responsible for kicking off an Internet marketing and communications project.
Volvo will hire six employees to its field staff to train dealers in product and processes. Three people will be added to its commercial accounts group at the headquarters in Rockleigh, N.J. With the addition of 13 new members, Volvo's U.S. work force will total 288 employees.