Volvo opens new China headquarters in Shanghai

Volvo opens new China headquarters in Shanghai
Volvo China Chairman Freeman Shen
Swedish automaker Volvo opened its new China headquarters in Shanghai on Tuesday in its latest bid to expand its market share in the country.

Volvo President and CEO Stefan Jacoby said the company’s Chinese presence had gone from being a sales arm to a full-fledged research and manufacturing operation within months.

“I am glad to see the China operations team has been set up and has made a huge progress over the last few months, expanding our business presence in China,” Jacoby said in a company statement.

The new headquarters on Shanghai’s northern outskirts will also include a technology development centre, the company said. Volvo officials declined to say how much the carmaker was investing in the facilities.

Chinese automaker Geely bought Volvo from Ford in August 2010 for $1.5 billion (9.85 billion kronor) and the Chinese carmaker aims to sell 800,000 Volvos in 2020, including 300,000 in China.

In 2010, Volvo sold 373,525 vehicles worldwide, with sales rising by 29 percent in northern Europe and 36 percent in China. Sales dropped 12 percent in the US to 53,952 vehicles, although it remained Volvo’s largest market.

China’s overall auto sales rose more than 32 percent to 18.06 million units last year following a banner year in 2009, in which the country overtook the US as the world’s top market.

“China is the world’s largest auto market. To capture the business growth and build Volvo Cars [into] an admired brand in China, [the company] has been strengthening the leadership team in China,” senior vice president and Volvo China Chairman Freeman Shen said in the statement.

“Our goal is to build Volvo cars one of the most admired luxury car brands,” he added.

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