A Chinese sales target of 200,000 vehicles by 2015 wasn’t “realistic”, chief executive Håkan Samuelsson told the daily Dagens Nyheter.
“We had 150 new dealers who didn’t know what Volvo stands for and a sales manager who didn’t speak the language. Sometimes when you start something, it’s not perfect and you have to make changes,” he said.
Volvo car sales in China officially fell 11 percent to 42,000 vehicles in 2012 from the previous year, but the company earlier this year said its Chinese dealers had misstated some sales figures.
Asked about the United States, which is the company’s largest single market with 16 percent of sales, Samuelsson said “maybe it was a mistake not building a plant there 15 years ago.”
Volvo’s US sales volumes have declined since the company’s range was “too narrow” there, he said, adding that the carmaker hoped to reverse the trend with the launch of two new models.
Volvo Car Group’s market share in the United States fell to 0.46 percent in 2012, compared with 0.53 percent in 2011 and 0.47 percent in 2010, prompting the American auto press to speculate that the brand would withdraw from the country.
“I don’t believe that one bit,” Samuelsson said.
The company swung to a net loss of 530 million kronor ($80.5 million) in 2012 after making a one billion kronor profit in 2011.