2020 Auto News Volvo

Volvo boss: electrification key to post-coronavirus growth

Hakan Samuelsson says the firm’s push towards a fully electrified line-up by 2025 will help it bounce back from impact of Covid-19

Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson believes that the firm’s heavy focus on electrification and connectivity will help it to achieve long-term growth despite the coronavirus pandemic hitting sales and revenue in the first half of 2020.

While Volvo’s sales in Europe, where most countries introduced lockdown measures between March and June fell by 29.5% to 123,198 units, there were encouraging signs from China. While sales in that market were hit by lockdown measures in the first quarter, sales were up year-on-year in the last three months, and Volvo’s overall first half sales in the region of 65,741 units was down just 3.0% year-on-year. Sales in the US were down 13.7% in the first half, but also rose year-on-year in June.

Another positive sign for Volvo was the success of its plug-in hybrid models, with the 38,000 sold a 79.8% rise on the first half of 2019. They also account for nearly a quarter of all Volvo’s European sales. With the recent launch of the XC40 T5 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid the firm now offers a plug-in hybrid of every model in its range, as part of a heavy focus on electrification through its new Recharge line. 

Volvo is aiming for full electric vehicles to account for half of its sales by 2025, with the rest hybrids. The full-electric XC40 P8 Recharge will launch later this year.

Samuelsson said the sales growth of the firm’s plug-in hybrid models “demonstrates a strong trend towards our strategic ambition of being a company electrifying faster than rivals.”

He added: “The downturn we saw in the first half is a temporary one. We expect to see a strong recovery in the second half of the year and our Recharge range of electrified cars puts us in a strong position to meet the emerging trends we are seeing.

“This pandemic has strengthened our confidence that our strategic ambitions are the right ones and that an accelerated transformation of our business will lead to long-term growth. We will continue to focus on and invest in electrification, online sales and connectivity.”

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