Volvo Cars posts modest US sales gains

Volvo Cars' American sales revved up a notch in July, but were still being overtaken by rivals such as Toyota and Honda as the US auto market continued its recovery.

Volvo Cars posts modest US sales gains

The Sweden-based company increased sales of its cars by 3.4 percent from June to July, making last month the most profitable for four years, Volvo Cars said in a statement.

Yet the 5,909 cars bought by Americans in July represented a 4.6-percent decrease compared to the same period last year.

While Volvo posted a single-digit increase, the Wall Street Journal reported that GM, Toyota, Ford, Honda and Chrysler had all increased vehicle sales in the US in the same period – and all hit two-figure hikes.

For example, GM deliveries rose 16 percent, Honda 21 percent and Toyota 17 percent, according to a Bloomberg tally.

In June, the Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson was forced to deny rumours that the company was pulling of the US, which at the time provided the company 16 percent of its sales.

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 earlier this year that the brand would withdraw from the country.

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Volvo stays in fast lane despite China dip

Swedish automaker Volvo Cars, owned by China's Geely, reported Wednesday a rise in first half profits even as sales tumbled in its biggest market, China.

Volvo stays in fast lane despite China dip
Volvo Cars' Swedish chief executive, Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Note: An earlier version of this story said that first-half profits fell. While net profit attributable to shareholders indeed fell, overall net profits were up. The story has been amended to reflect this.

Net profit more than tripled to 877 million kronor (92 million euros, $56 million), while turnover climbed by 12 percent to 75.2 billion kronor.

Operating profit surged by more than 70 percent to 1.66 billion kronor, thanks to a strong US currency and robust sales of Volvo's SUV model XC60.

But net income attributable to owners of the parent company dropped by 60 percent to 173 million kronor (18 million euros, $20 million).

Volvo's overall car sales in terms of units rose by 1.4 percent to 232,284 during the first half.

The strongest sales growth was registered in Sweden and western Europe, while they remained stable in the United States and declined in China, by 1.2 percent, and the rest of the world, including Russia.

Volvo went through several dark years before returning to profit in 2013. In 2014, it beat its sales record from 2007, selling almost 466,000 vehicles. CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Swedish news agency TT the company expects to sell 500,000 cars this year.

The number of Volvo employees has risen by 10 percent in the past year, to 28,000 worldwide.

Despite its economic slowdown, Volvo plans to boost its presence in China and has acquired 50 percent of three joint ventures from parent company Geely: two assembly plants and one research and development centre.

Geely paid $1.8 billion to buy Volvo from US carmaker Ford in 2010.