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2013/2014 Volvo Cars Overview

2014 a year of growth for Volvo Cars

 

Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) will in 2014 introduce new technologies, a series of industry-leading innovations and launch the much-anticipated all-new XC90 as the full effects of an EUR 11 billion, four-year transformation plan start to bear fruit.

 

“2014 will be a year of growth. Volvo is back in the black and 2014 will be characterised by a continued strong performance in China and a recovery and growth in volume in the US, our two largest markets globally” said Håkan Samuelsson, President & CEO of Volvo Cars.

 

Much of the work that has been undertaken at Volvo Cars since the Swedish company was acquired by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding in 2010 has been leading up to this year.

 

The all-new XC90 will be the first car to be built on the company’s brand new, in-house developed SPA vehicle architecture and the first Volvo production model to carry the company’s new design language, successfully showcased in the critically-acclaimed Volvo Concept Coupé and the Volvo Concept XC Coupé.

 

Powered by Volvo’s Drive-E powertrains and prepared for electrification technologies, the all-new XC90 will be replete with user-friendly safety and driver support systems that underline Volvo Cars’ safety leadership and human-centric approach.

 

Its many new features include Pedestrian Detection in Darkness, which enhances the detection of other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists when driving in dusk or at night, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Steer Assist, a technology that helps the driver stay in the right lane and follow the rhythm of the traffic by automatically following the vehicle ahead.

 

“The all-new XC90 is the first car to be developed by an independent Volvo Cars and is emblematic of the company’s transformation,” continued Samuelsson. “With the all-new XC90 we will deliver like never before on all the promises embedded in our Designed Around You brand strategy.”

 

Global sales forecast to increase

A key focus for Volvo Cars in 2014 will be to improve its sales performance in the United States, the company’s largest market, aiming to grow sales faster than projected total market growth.

 

Volvo Cars will have an improved customer offer in the US in 2014 with a line of fully refreshed S60, XC60, XC70 and S80 models and the sales start of the V60 sports wagon.  In China, Volvo Cars will build on a highly successful sales performance in 2013 and aim to continue its growth momentum in the market. 2014 will be the first full year of local production in the new Chengdu manufacturing plant with new models like the S60L and a refreshed S80L.

 

2013 REVIEW

Volvo Car Group

Global sales increased 1.4 per cent compared to 2012, as Volvo Cars recorded strong growth in China and improved its market share in several key European markets not in the least due to a major refresh of Volvo S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80. The Chinese operations were further developed, with the establishment of a Volvo manufacturing footprint in the country a major highlight.

 

2013 started under challenging circumstances for Volvo Cars, especially in the European and US markets. As the year progressed, Volvo Cars saw an improving momentum in several key European markets. China however was the star performer among Volvo’s markets, reporting a year-on-year growth of 45.6 per cent. The best sold model globally in 2013 was the Volvo XC60, with an increase of 7.4 per cent to 114,010 vehicles, compared to 2012. The Volvo V40 (78,307 cars, +252.7 per cent) was the second most sold model, followed by the Volvo S60 (61,579 cars, -4.9 per cent) and V60 (54,666 cars, +3.1 per cent).

 

The launch of the refreshed Volvo S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 supported a positive sales development in Europe, which also built on the ongoing success of the Volvo V40. Growth year-on-year in European markets included the Netherlands (+40.8 per cent), United Kingdom (+2.9 per cent), Spain (+2.2 per cent), Norway (+2.3 per cent) and Denmark (+7.2 per cent).

 

In Sweden, the company’s home country and third-largest market, Volvo Cars posted a small year-on-year increase of 0.8 per cent to 52,260 cars. The Volvo V70 once again ended the year as Sweden’s most-sold car, while the Volvo S60, V60, V40 and XC60 were other top sellers in the country.

 

In the United States, Volvo Cars experienced a challenging year but the market remained Volvo Cars’ largest. Overall sales fell by 10.1 per cent to 61,233 cars compared to 2012 due to the phase-out of the S40, V50, C30 and C70 models and a later introduction of the refreshed model programme, but demand for the Volvo XC60 and S60 was strong and both models sold better than in 2012.

 

China was just edged out by the United States as Volvo Cars’ largest market in 2013 with 61,146 cars sold. This was an increase of 45.6 per cent compared to 2012 and driven by new product launches, increased marketing spending and expansion of the Chinese dealer network. Demand for the Volvo S60 and XC60 grew strongly, while the first full year of Volvo V60 sales also underlined the popularity of the sports wagon. The Volvo V40 was launched in China in the first quarter of 2013 and was the fourth best-selling Volvo model in China.

 

Among markets elsewhere around the world, Japan was another highlight: sales here grew by 22 per cent to 16,897 cars, a level not seen since the late 1990s. Other well-performing markets in Asia were Taiwan (up 4.6 per cent) and South Korea (up 11.5 per cent).

 

Volvo Car UK

A strong December 2013 performance (increase of 24% versus 2012) saw the UK finish ahead of its full year sales target with 32,066 units, showing a 2.9 per cent increase from 2012.

 

Strong demand for the V40, coupled with the refreshed models in the rest of the range and the introduction of the new Drive-E engine helped Volvo Car UK end 2013 on a high note with the sold order books (cars sold to customer and being built) almost a third up on the previous year.

 

In the UK, the top selling models were V40 (12,972), XC60 (5,632), V60 (4,059) and now in its 13th year, the XC90 continues to be a strong seller with 2,583 being sold.

 

An ambitious sales target has been set for 2014 to increase sales by 10 per cent, with the V40, V40 Cross Country and the XC60 being the main drivers behind this.

 

2013 HIGHLIGHTS

Product and Technology

  • At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Volvo Cars showed no less than six new cars to the world: a major refresh of the S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80. The new model range constituted the most extensive development of existing models in Volvo Cars’ history.
  • Also in Geneva, Volvo Cars launched another Volvo world-first in automotive safety: a technology that detects and automatically brakes for cyclists swerving out in front of the car. The new functionality was an enhancement of the existing detection and auto brake technology, and the package was called Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake.
  • Another feature launched in Geneva was the innovative permanent high beam functionality called Active High Beam Control. The system makes driving in the dark safer and more comfortable by enabling drivers to use the high beam continuously, thanks to an ingenious mechanism that prevents dazzling of oncoming drivers by shading out only as much of the beam as necessary.
  • Volvo’s brand new, super-efficient, four-cylinder engine family Drive-E was showcased during the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
  • Also making its world debut in Frankfurt was the Volvo Concept Coupé, the first of three concept cars to showcase Volvo Cars’ new design direction and to demonstrate the capabilities of the company’s in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).
  • In 2013, Volvo Cars also launched its new Sensus Connect infotainment and connectivity system. The existing user interface called Sensus was extended with the option to add intuitive all-new technology that enables connectivity and Internet in the car.
  • Volvo and Polestar announce the development of the V60 Polestar, a specially modified and limited production run available in markets across the world.
  • The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid, continued its success journey in 2013. After selling out the first batch of model year 2013 V60 Plug-in Hybrid’s before they even reached the showroom in 2012, Volvo Cars initially planned to build 150 units per week in 2013. However, demand for the car far outstripped planned production volumes and Volvo Cars decided in May to increase the production rate by 90 per cent to 282 cars per week. In the end, almost 7,500 V60 Plug-in Hybrids were sold in 2013 with planned production volume for 2014 being 10,000 cars.

 

Safety Achievements

  • Several Volvo models were recognised for their top safety levels in 2013. In September, the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) introduced a new test programme that rates the performance of front crash prevention systems. Both the Volvo S60 and XC60 received the highest possible rating – ‘Superior’ – and Volvo Cars’ City Safety was the only standard fitment low-speed crash prevention system in the test, which included 74 vehicles.
  • IIHS also recognised the lasting quality of the Volvo XC90. More than a decade after introduction, IIHS still ranked the XC90 as one of the safest cars on the market by awarding it a 2013 Top Safety Pick+. The Volvo S60, XC60 and S80 received the prestigious 2014 Top Safety Pick+ ranking.
  • Volvo Car Group's pioneering work on pedestrian protection was rewarded with the 2013 Global NCAP Innovation Award in May. The award recognised a number of ground-breaking pedestrian protection systems developed by Volvo Cars in recent years, such as Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake and the world-first Pedestrian Airbag Technology.
  • Volvo Cars’ leadership in safety was further supported by a safety report by Swedish insurance company Folksam. The report put four Volvo models – the S60, V60, V70 and S80 – on top of its ranking with a 12 per cent margin to the next car on the list. The Volvo S60, V60, V70 and S80 were almost 60 per cent safer than the average car in the report. As a result all models in Volvo’s current range received a top safety pick recommendation by Folksam, a recommendation for cars at least 40 per cent safer than the average car.
  • In July, Volvo reached another safety milestone as the sales number of Volvo cars equipped with systems for automatic braking passed the one million mark. Volvo remains the only manufacturer to fit its low-speed collision avoidance system, City Safety, as standard across the range (except XC90).

 

Corporate

  • In 2013, Volvo Cars continued to strengthen its capital structure and reached agreements with a number of new financial partners. In November, Volvo Cars agreed a second loan agreement with China Development Bank, worth USD 800 million. This agreement followed on the EUR 922 million loan agreement that Volvo Cars and China Development Bank signed in 2012.
  • In November, Volvo Cars started series production at the company’s first Chinese manufacturing plant, in the city of Chengdu. The first car to be built in Chengdu is the Volvo S60L, a long wheel base version of the Volvo S60 specifically aimed at the Chinese market.
  • At the Swedish operations in Torslanda and Olofström, work continued to make the plants ready for the production of cars built on the SPA architecture. As part of the significant investments in the new SPA and Drive-E projects, construction of a new body shop in the Torslanda vehicle plant was completed during the second half of 2013. In May, Volvo Cars’ engine plant in Skövde, Sweden started the production of the company’s new Drive-E powertrain family.

 

Future Technologies

  • Throughout 2013, Volvo Cars continued its work on autonomous driving technologies, connected car technologies and research in this field. In October, Volvo Cars conducted the first ever demonstration in the US of Adaptive Cruise Control with steer assist in real traffic conditions, a technology that paves the way for full autonomous driving.
  • In early December, Volvo Cars and Swedish government authorities announced another world-first in autonomous driving. The parties announced that in 2017, 100 self-driving Volvo cars will use public roads in everyday driving conditions around the Swedish city of Gothenburg, in what will be the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project.
  • Also part of the Gothenburg pilot project is the ingenious concept for autonomous parking that Volvo Cars demonstrated in the summer of 2013.
  • In 2013, Volvo Cars worked with a number of experiments in the field of electrification, as part of the company’s constant drive to further develop its electrification technologies. The company successfully participated in a research project into inductive, cordless charging for electric vehicles. A Volvo C30 Electric test car could be fully charged in around 2.5 hours, by placing the car on top of an electromagnetic field in a charging base station.
  • In another promising project, Volvo engineers developed a revolutionary concept for lightweight structural energy storage components that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles. The material, consisting of carbon fibres, nanostructured batteries and super capacitors, offers lighter energy storage that requires less space in the car, cost effective structure options and is eco-friendly.
Keywords:
Safety, Volvo People, Facilities, Technology, Overview, Design, Manufacturing
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