2004 a Record Year for Volvo Cars
25th January, 2005
The year 2004 was an excellent period for Volvo Car Corporation with total sales exceeding 456,000 cars. Sales improve by more than 10 percent year on year.
What's more, 2004 sales total of 456,224 cars sets a new corporate record, topping the previous best of 422,100 set in 2000 by more than 8 percent.
“The magic ceiling of 450,000 cars has finally been passed, and we feel that our long-term sales goal of achieving 600,000 cars a year is finally within reach,” says Hans-Olov Olsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.
All the markets, with the odd exception, have done very well and significantly increased both their sales volumes and market shares. This applies in particular to the high-volume markets of North America and Europe.
Europe was extremely active toward year's end as Volvo Car sales increased by 30 percent.
Every third Volvo to North America (2003 sales in
Canada's sales success ran at a consistent pace with the USA at 11,135 (10,750) cars. Mexico too improved to 3,356 (2,721) cars.
Volvo Cars' immense success in North America is owed to the XC90. In 2005, Volvo Car will further strengthen the XC90's market position with the release in January of the XC90 V8.
The compact S40 sedan and V50 wagon models are also selling strongly in North America.
Nordic markets keep market share lead
Norway accounted for the largest percentage increase of all Nordic countries, with a sales rise of 53 percent. In terms of volume, this corresponds to 6,494 (4,241) cars. In Finland, 10,076 (9,284) new Volvos were sold, while in Denmark the figure is 3,513 (3,252).
Volvo's market share is highest in the Nordic countries: Sweden 20.1 percent, Finland 6.8 percent and Norway 5.6 percent.
Europe fast forward
Germany made a huge comeback after suffering a dip in 2002/2003, shooting up more than 25 percent to 38,085 cars (30,285) despite immense competition from the domestic German brands.
Belgium posted an incredible sales rise of more than 37 percent to 12,929 (9,426) cars. France increased sales by 36.6 percent to 11,989 (8,775) cars.
Other major high-volume markets are Italy with 19,390 (18,416) cars, the Netherlands with 19,225 (16,204) and Spain with 15,925 (14,034).
In this context it is also worth mentioning Greece, where the number of Volvo cars sold in 2004 increased by 67 percent from 1,344 to 2,240 – the largest single percentage increase on any market in 2004.
Japan against the trend and Asia Pacific steady
The countries in the so-called Asia-Pacific area, Oceania and South-East Asia have all maintained their positions without dramatic changes. The expected upswing in China – forecast by the market as an emerging growth market – slowed down somewhat in the second half of the year and the final result was 2,609 (2516) cars.
All told, the VCAP markets accounted for 13,152 (12,065) new Volvo cars.
Volvo Car Australia reversed a falling sales trend in 2004 by posting improved sales of approximately 4 percent.
Undeniably, the XC90 lead Volvo Car Australia's sales reversal. Credit goes too to the new S40 which sold in numbers above expectation, and the V50 wagon (combined with V40) lead the compact luxury wagon segment.
Russia maintained its sales volumes from the previous year with 5,005 cars (4,991), and it also retained its 20 percent share of the segment. South Africa’s 4,602 (3,111) new cars, on the other hand, represent a massive 47.9 percent increase.
Turkey was responsible for an even larger percentage increase. Posting 1,971 units sold in 2004 is an improvement of 57.9 percent over the previous year.
Volvo Cars’ 10 largest markets in 2004:
XC90 – the best-selling Volvo model
AWD has become a huge success for Volvo’s cars. In 2004, no less than 143,000 Volvos sold were all-wheel drive. This means that virtually one in three Volvos sold has all-wheel drive.
New S40 and V50 models sold very well last year. More than 100,000 were delivered to customers around the world.
The five best-selling Volvo models in 2004 are:
Production in 2004
Volvo Cars’ main production is now concentrated in the company’s two factories in Torslanda, Gothenburg, Sweden (which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2004) and Ghent in Belgium, where the new S40 and V50 models are made.
Both factories have implemented major production increases during 2004 and will face the future with even greater production capacity. Torslanda may well even initiate a third shift. At present, the capacity limits are 190,000 in Torslanda and 270,000 in Ghent. The long-term goal is for each factory to be able to handle 500,000 cars a year if demand requires.
The Uddevalla factory, where the Volvo C70 convertible is made, is now owned and operated by a jointly owned company, Pininfarina Sverige AB, where Pininfarina owns 60 percent of the shares and Volvo Cars 40 percent. This is where Volvo’s next generation convertible will be manufactured.
Volvo Cars manufactured a total of 460,000 cars in 2004.
Just over every second Volvo car sold in Europe is diesel-engine powered. In 2004, Volvo Cars expanded its diesel engine range with two four-cylinder variants with displacements of 1.6 and 2.0 litres respectively. Both four-cylinder engines are the result of a joint development with Ford/PSA (Peugeot/Citroen).
The Skövde engine factory announced in December that Ford Motor Co will locate production of the four-cylinder 2-litre version there. In return, Volvo’s six-cylinder petrol engine, previously made at the Skövde factory, will be transferred to Ford’s Bridgend factory in Britain.
The year of the concept car successes
The Volvo Tandem Car, as its name suggests, places one occupant behind the other. The unique concept was revealed at an event in May at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Centre in California. The Tandem is a feasible future electric-car concept for commuters in increasingly congested and environmentally vulnerable metropolitan areas the world over.
Environmental consideration and dependable mobility for the future were also the theme of the 3CC, a three-seat electric car with an outright sporty character. The 3CC combined environmental suitability and safety with thrilling design and entertaining driving properties. The 3CC was shown in connection with the Michelin Challenge Bibendum eco-car competition in Shanghai (China), and it earned five gold medals and the top prize for best design.
Product news in 2004
“The strength of the Volvo brand is immense and it is continuing to grow. The respect with which Volvo Cars is met and the determination, enthusiasm and dedication that characterises the company’s operations all help make my job one of the most rewarding in the world,” concludes Hans-Olov Olsson.