Rising sales and a new range of fuel-efficient, low-emission DRIVe vehicles are inspiring confidence that Volvo offers a brighter future for UK dealers in the current economic climate.
Volvo reported an 11% increase in new car sales during 2008, despite a year in which sales of new cars dropped by 11.3% in the UK market as a whole. This success, coupled with the launch of its new sub 120-g/km CO2-emitting DRIVe range of vehicles, is attracting dealers keen to strengthen their portfolio and beat the downturn.
Doves, Jardine Motors Group, Hatfield's and Donalds Motor Group have all opened Volvo sales and service centres in recent weeks. In addition a Management buy-out by Regent Automotive secured three Volvo dealerships in London from H.R. Owen.
Philip Hand, Network Development Manager for Volvo Car UK Limited, said: "It is immensely pleasing that so many entrepreneurial businesses are keen to bring Volvo in to their portfolio of brands. We think they have made an excellent decision, especially as Volvo is one of the only manufacturers to have improved its recent year-on-year performance."
Hand added: "However, we are not complacent and recognise that 2009 will be tough for the whole industry. That's why we're committed to supporting our network by making sure car supply matches demand, as well as minimising dealers' costs. Our focus is on developing a solid and profitable future for our dealers and for the Volvo brand."
Doves, a division of Cambria Automobiles, already operates Volvo franchises in three locations in the South of England, has now added a further three dealerships in Blackburn, Oldham and Preston in January. Finance Director James Mullins said: "Cambria Automobiles is excited about the ability to expand with Volvo in the North West and believes it is a true partnership that can deliver mutual benefits. Volvo enjoys a very loyal customer base and the launch of the DRIVe product range also demonstrates its commitment to tackling environmental issues while delivering class-leading green vehicles."
Donalds Motor Group in Ipswich also believes Volvo will be a great addition to its existing brands. Managing Director Danny Stone said: "There is a significant number of new and existing Volvo customers locally that require a dealership that offers them all the facilities they require, together with high levels of customer service. We are all excited about our future prospects with Volvo and hope to nurture the relationship our businesses have for our joint prosperity."
Stuart Coleman, Regional Operations Manager of Jardine Motors, said Volvo's impressive sales performance in a difficult market plus its new DRIVe vehicle range, made it an easy decision to add the brand to his dealership in Reading, which employs 17 staff. "Jardine Motors Group is delighted to take on the Volvo brand, which will complement the existing franchises at our Bennets Road location," he said.
Established family business Hatfield's also adds Volvo to its existing Bury showroom, which boasts an eight bay vehicle workshop and employs 26 staff.
Management buy-out team Regent Automotive Limited has acquired three Volvo dealerships in London from H.R. Owen. The dealerships, which employ 110 people, will trade under the Volvo Cars London name.
The management buy-out was led by Regent Automotive Limited Managing Director Tracey Perry, who was instrumental in negotiations with H.R. Owen and has worked with the Volvo brand throughout her 26-year career. Volvo Cars London sites are located in Marylebone (Central London), Colindale (North London), and the Volvo network's flagship retailer in Chiswick (West London), together offering a full suite of new and used car sales, servicing, parts, corporate sales and rental.
"As a team, we have experience, knowledge and enthusiasm of the brand and the market place and we are really excited about applying this in our own way," said Tracey Perry, Dealer Principal.
"We will continue to work with Volvo to ensure good coverage of London and to develop the business as the dealership of choice in the capital city," she concluded.