Volvo Car Corporation increased sales in 2003
Success for the Volvo XC90 and a record year in the USA
GÖTEBORG, Sweden -- 2003 was a successful year for Volvo Cars, thanks primarily to record sales in the USA and huge demand for the Volvo XC90. Total sales amounted to 415,046 cars, an increase of 2.2 percent compared with 2002. Sales in North America increased by 21 percent to 148,528 cars, while Europe dropped back by 6.5 percent, largely owing to the difficult market situation in Germany.
During its first full year on the market, the Volvo XC90 was the biggest attention-grabber of the entire Volvo Cars model range. Sales of the XC90 totaled 62,177 cars, and demand for this model is so great that the company has now decided to increase the annual production rate to 90,000 cars.
Another positive development is that the success of the Volvo XC90 has not come at the expense of the Volvo XC70, which held its own compared with 2002. The best-selling model in the range for the past three years is the Volvo S60, with sales totaling 90,910 cars in 2003 (2002:107,463).
Fourteen consecutive months of climbing sales in the USA
Although the overall market shrank, Volvo Cars had its best-ever year in the USA. After fourteen straight months of steadily improving sales, 2003 ended with deliveries of 134,620 cars, an increase of 22 percent over the year before. As expected, the bestseller was the Volvo XC90, accounting for 35,791 cars sold.
In Europe, sales shrank by 6.5 percent to 221,632 cars (2002:236,951). In Sweden, which is Volvo Cars' second-largest market, sales dropped slightly by 1.5 percent to 47,928 cars. However, Volvo nonetheless maintained its market share of just over 19 percent, with the Volvo V70 leading the sales league with 23,000 cars. The V70 is the best selling car model in Sweden.
In Britain, sales shrank by 3.5 percent to 39,135 cars (2002:40,580).
A deep recession in Germany combined with a sagging overall market and the reorganization of Volvo's dealership network there combined to cut Volvo's sales by 26 percent to 30,285 cars (2002:41,045).
Sales of imported cars in Japan decreased by almost 7 percent. Volvo, however, fared better than most of its competitors, managing to limit its sales cut to just 3 percent. All told, Volvo Cars sold 14,755 cars in Japan in 2003 (2002:15,242).
It is also worth noting that Volvo is selling well on key growing markets. In Russia, Volvo's sales rose by 69 percent to 4,991 cars (2002:2,947) while China increased by 28 percent to 2,516 cars (2002:1,960).
The new Volvo S40 and Volvo V50
The new Volvo S40 and Volvo V50 were the main news models for Volvo Cars in 2003. The Volvo S40 had its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in early September, and three months later the wraps were pulled off the Volvo V50 at the motor show in Bologna. These new compact models are the first fruits of Volvo's technological cooperation with Ford and Mazda. The Volvo S40 and Volvo V50 boast dynamic driving properties and safety on a par with Volvo's larger models.
The new Volvo S40 and Volvo V50 are made at the Volvo Cars factory in Ghent, Belgium. Volvo's production in Born in the Netherlands ends with the phasing out of the previous generation Volvo S40 and V40 during the first half of 2004. When fully expanded, the Ghent factory will be the company's largest production facility with an annual capacity of 270,000 cars.
In early 2003, Volvo also unveiled an updated Volvo S80, with a more elegant design and the unique FOUR-C chassis system that made its debut in the R models the year before.
New convertible in joint-venture with Pininfarina
During the year, it was announced that the next convertible from Volvo Cars would be developed in cooperation with world-renowned Italian design house Pininfarina. The partnership includes manufacture of the new open-top car, which will be built in a jointly owned facility in Uddevalla on Sweden's west coast. Pininfarina owns 60 percent and Volvo Cars owns 40 percent of the new company, which is called Pininfarina Sverige AB.
Close cooperation with German transmission specialists GETRAG was launched at the Volvo Cars factory in Köping. GETRAG owns 60 percent and Volvo Cars 40 percent of the new company, GETRAG All Wheel Drive AB. The aim of the partnership is to make Köping a competitive independent centre for the development and manufacture of four-wheel drive systems for the entire car industry. The Köping factory will also continue to manufacture chassis components.
Another noteworthy development is that Volvo's facility in Skövde is the first engine factory in the world to receive the highly prestigious World Class Award for Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). 2003 also set a production record for the factory, with a total of 391,000 engines manufactured.
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