2004 a Record Year for Volvo Cars

2005 Volvo S40

25th January, 2005

  • 2004 set a new worldwide sales record for Volvo Cars
  • Total sales reach 456,224 cars, a 10 percent increase on 2003
  • USA sales reach a new record of 140,000 cars
  • XC90 is the best-selling Volvo model
  • 30 percent of Volvos sold are all-wheel drive

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 brackets)
Almost one-third of all Volvo cars produced in 2004 found a buyer in North America. Total sales in the three NAFTA countries amounted to 154,000 (148,528) of which the USA accounted for a new record of 139,155 (134,620) car. This is an increase of 3.5 percent. Of approximately 140,000 Volvo cars sold in the USA, the XC90 range accounted for 28 percent or 39,630 vehicles.

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
A total of 71,547 (64,705) new Volvo cars were sold on the Nordic market. Sweden is still Volvo Cars’ second-largest market in volume terms. A major upswing during the last few weeks of the year put total sales at 51,464 (47,928), an increase of 7.5 percent, which resulted in the company maintaining its market share of 20 percent.

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
Volvo sales in all European markets moved ahead rapidly to record and near-record results. Volvo sales in Britain exceeded 40,159 cars, a slight increase of about 3 percent. Britain is Volvo Cars strongest European market, but Germany is not far behind.

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
Japan is the only major Volvo market that bucked the upward sales trend in 2004. Negatively affecting sales in Japan was the delayed introduction of the new S40 and V50. Sales in 2004 totalled 13,919 (14,755), a drop of 5.7 percent.

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.

VCOC growing
The other overseas markets administrated by the Volvo Car Overseas Corporation (Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, the former Soviet republics and South Africa) varied considerably in terms of volume and growth. The total figure was 16,679 (13,838) cars. The group’s largest markets in volume are Russia and South Africa.

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:
USA 139,155 (134,620)
Sweden 51,464 (47,928)
UK 40,159 (39,135)
Germany 38,085 (30,285)
Italy 19,390 (18,416)
Netherlands 19,225 (16,204)
Spain 15,925 (14,034)
Japan 13,919 (14,755)
Belgium 12,929 (9,426)
France 11,989 (8,775)

XC90 – the best-selling Volvo model
Already during its second full calendar year on the market, the Volvo XC90 became the company’s best-selling model. A decision was taken about a year ago to increase XC90 production from about 65,000 annually to more than 90,000. XC90 sales reached 84,032 (62,177). Together with the recently introduced XC90 V8 Volvo Car predicts sales to continue to climb in 2005 to exceed 100,000 units.

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:
XC90 84,032 (62,177)
V70 74,656 (83,359)
S60 73,121 (90,910)
S40 53,085
V50 47,743

Production in 2004
Production of the previous S40 sedan and V40 wagon ceased in May at the NedCar factory in Born, Holland. Volvo Cars thus ceased its 32-year operation in The Netherlands. The last car produced, which incidentally was the millionth in the S40/V40 series, was a V40 that was donated to charity.

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
In 2004, Volvo Cars presented no less than three concept models. The one to generate the most media coverage was Your Concept Car (YCC). This car was unveiled to the world at the Geneva Motor Show. With its gull-wing doors and innovative technical and design solutions, YCC created headlines around the world.

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
Concrete model news in 2004 included upgrades of the S60, V70 and XC70 for model year 2005. Unveiling of the updated models coincided with presentation of BLIS – a system that monitors the car’s blind spots.

“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.

2005 Volvo XC90

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