Volvo Cars has appointed Lex Kerssemakers, currently Senior Vice President for Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management, as its new Senior Vice President Americas, underscoring the company’s commitment to the core American market.
In his new role, Mr Kerssemakers will be responsible for North and South America and report to Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars’ president and chief executive. He will also assume the role of President and chief executive of Volvo Cars of North America.
Mr Kerssemakers is one of Volvo’s most skilled executives with over 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry and 16 years in executive and senior management roles at Volvo.
He has worked and lived in UK, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, leading international teams, and has a deep experience-based understanding of industry mechanisms, acquired through senior positions in corporate and product strategy, purchasing and sales and marketing.
“I am looking forward to this challenge,” said Mr Kerssemakers. “The US is a key market for the development of the group and today we get back onto the front foot. Volvo is not only in the US to stay, it is in the US to prosper.”
Volvo has an ambitious strategy for the US market and is implementing a US Revival Plan which aims to return annual sales to over 100,000 cars in the medium term, compared to around 56,000 in 2014, driven by a renewal of the entire product range by the end of 2017. It also plans to unlock the full potential of the Canadian and Latin American markets.
“The scale of our ambition in the American region meant we needed a member of our executive management team with the drive, determination and motivation to make it happen,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive officer. “His appointment underlines our commitment to taking our rightful place as a successful and growing premium car maker in the Americas.”
Volvo’s US Revival Plan has five main elements. They are:
- The complete renewal of the product range beginning with the all-new XC90 SUV, the V60 Cross Country wagon and the S60 Cross Country sedan
- A full scale strengthening of the brand with the marketing budget set to increase significantly
- A focus on developing the dealer network to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support brand development and new products
- A focus on managing residual values to ensure that the company’s premium position is reflected in the long term value of its products
- A drive to improve service operations and deliver real profit opportunities to the dealer network as well as an uncompromising approach to service quality
Lex Kerssemakers’ move to his new position is the latest in a series of management appointments that have been taken to drive its revival in the US. Tony Nicolosi, currently President and chief executive of Volvo Cars North America, will become President of Volvo Cars Financial Services for the Americas.
Volvo Car Group in 2013/14
For the 2013 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 1,919 MSEK (66 MSEK in 2012). Revenue over the period amounted to 122,245 MSEK (124,547 MSEK), while net income amounted to 960 MSEK (-542 MSEK). Global retail sales for the year amounted to 427,840 (421,951) cars, an increase of 1.4 per cent compared to 2012. The operating profit was the result of cost control and strong sales and was further tangible proof of Volvo Car Group’s progress in implementing its transformation plan. For the full year 2014, global sales reached 465,866 cars, an increase of 8.9 per cent versus 2013. Full year financials for 2014 will be announced during the first quarter of 2015.
About Volvo Car Group
Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world with sales of 465,866 in 2014 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.
As of December 2014, Volvo Cars had over 25,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium) and Chengdu (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China) and body components in Olofström (Sweden).