Tag Archive | "Volvo"

Dealer Service Solutions Selected for F&I Partnership with Volvo Retailers in the Carolinas

RALEIGH, NC – Dealer Service Solutions, a fast growing full service automotive finance and insurance agency, has been appointed the new authorized representative for all Volvo retailers located in North and South Carolina. Dealer Service Solutions was chosen for this role by Warrantech, an AmTrust company located in Bedford, Texas, who will be assisting with the transition.

Dealer Service Solutions specializes in providing F&I products, services, training, and customization programs for franchise and independent automotive dealerships as well as franchise motorcycle dealerships. “We are honored to be selected for this F&I partnership with Volvo,” said Gary Powers, President of Dealer Service Solutions. “Our team is excited to utilize our years of automotive experience to serve the regional Volvo retailers and bring greater value to their F&I departments!”

Volvo has been undergoing a complete brand makeover, rolling out innovative designs such as the XC40 and the S40 concepts. Volvo has had 10 consecutive months of double digit sales growth and YTD sales are up 22.7%. This is all before the new and highly anticipated S90 hits the market this summer. Volvo is focusing on the needs of urban millennials who are looking for an alternative to more mainstream luxury brands.

Dealer Service Solutions is also riding high with a 200% increase in business over the last 3 years. “Our administrative partners have been a huge reason for our success” said Powers. “They continue to support our creativity in the field by allowing us to customize individual programs for our dealers. Having the ability to be flexible with various F&I products allows our dealers to target their core customer base and their individual needs offered in the F&I departments.” This partnership should provide both Dealer Service Solutions and the Volvo retailers the ability to prosper in the F&I area and continue their tremendous growth.”

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Volvo Cars to Build U.S. Plant to Spearhead Sales Recovery

Volvo Cars will invest $500 million in its first U.S. assembly plant under plans announced on Monday, plugging a longstanding gap in the Swedish carmaker’s manufacturing base as it pursues a global comeback under Chinese ownership, reported Reuters.

Volvo is in advanced talks with several U.S. states and will announce a location within weeks, Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said in embargoed comments made before the announcement. Production will begin in 2018.

Following its sale to Zhejiang Geely by Ford in 2010, Volvo has stepped up investment in new models and production, adding a pair of Chinese factories to its two older European plants.

North American manufacturing is “the last piece in establishing our global footprint”, Samuelsson told Reuters.

The plant will serve export markets as well as the United States, where Volvo is aiming for a return to annual sales of 100,000 vehicles. Reuters reported in January that a factory investment was being considered.

While the carmaker’s global deliveries rose 9 percent last year to almost 466,000, largely thanks to China, U.S. sales fell another 8 percent to 56,000 vehicles.

The choice of the United States over Mexico – where rivals such as BMW have announced a series of plant investments – underlines Volvo’s determination to “rebuild the brand” among American consumers, the CEO said. “We want to give a clear signal that the U.S. is a home market for us.”

He declined to identify the shortlisted sites but said the decision would reflect the availability and cost of skilled workers and logistics including the export of finished cars.

Samuelsson said he was neutral on whether U.S. staff are represented by the United Auto Workers union – a politically divisive issue that has dogged plant decisions by Volkswagen and others.

“It’s up to the people who work for us to choose how they want to be organized,” he said. “We have no opinion on that.”

Volvo said production capacity would be close to the 120,000 vehicles at its larger Chinese plant, with model plans still under wraps. The arrival of the new XC90 flagship SUV as an import is counted on to halt the U.S. sales slide this year.

Volvo may find the going tougher than in its U.S. heyday, which saw 2004 deliveries approach 140,000. Since then, BMW and its German rivals, VW’s Audi and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, have grabbed a bigger share of the luxury market.

Toyota’s Lexus brand is also gaining ground, and a product offensive by Ford’s Lincoln and General Motors’ Cadillac offers more non-German options to U.S. premium buyers.

Volvo’s plant investment nonetheless demonstrates confidence that it can claw its way back under newly appointed Americas chief Lex Kerssemakers.

“We’re going after a market share of 1 percent with a clear identity that we know is very attractive to some customer groups,” Samuelsson said. “It is a tough market – but I wouldn’t say it’s tougher than Europe or China.”

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Volvo to Launch Online Car Sales in Marketing Shift

Volvo Car Corp said it will start selling vehicles online as it rolls out new models to compete with German luxury rivals such as BMW, reported Reuters.

The Swedish carmaker, controlled by China’s Geely, will gradually introduce web sales and spend more on digital advertising, it said as it outlined changes to its global marketing strategy on Monday.

“The plan is to have all our car lines in all our markets offered digitally,” Volvo sales chief Alain Visser said in an interview.

Few manufacturers have tried selling directly online. A notable exception is Tesla, whose electric car sales have cut out traditional dealers, leading to conflict and effective exclusion from parts of the United States.

But Volvo has assured its 2,000 global dealerships, half of which are in Europe, that it has no such plans.

“If you say the word e-commerce, initially dealers get nervous,” Visser said.

“We don’t see a car distribution network without dealers in the foreseeable future,” he said, adding that vehicles sold online “will still pass through the dealer network” for delivery.

Volvo raised its 2014 sales goal in August as it launched a revamped XC90 crossover, the first vehicle developed under Zhejiang Geely Holding Group ownership.

With its flagship SUV and other models to follow, Volvo is ratcheting up the gadgetry and glitz to woo Chinese customers without losing sight of core attributes including safety and uncluttered Scandinavian design.

The Swedish carmaker plans to withdraw from all but one motor show per year in each of three regions – Europe, North America and Asia – and stage its own global event instead.

Volvo also said it would not follow rivals into city-centre boutique dealerships of the kind increasingly used by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

“We’re a different brand with limited financial means,” Visser said. “We don’t believe in building these big palaces.”

Some 80 percent of Volvo customers already shop online for other goods, the sales chief added, and research suggests many will do the same for cars in future.

But some analysts such as Stuart Pearson of Exane BNP Paribas remain skeptical, citing weak orders from experimental online sales of the BMW’s i8 hybrid sports car.

“BMW has tried it in Germany, but they really haven’t had a huge amount of volume,” Pearson said. “People still want to go into dealers.”

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Volvo Needs to Gain U.S. Market Share, CEO Says

LOS ANGELES— Håkan Samuelsson has an admirable vision for Volvo Car Corp. By 2020, the company’s chief executive says no one will be seriously killed or injured in a new Volvo, reported The WSJ.

In order to make it to 2020, however, Mr. Samuelsson needs to turn around a U.S. unit that is losing market share and falling far behind German rivals he sees as setting the pace in the American luxury car business. Relying on China, he has stemmed losses in Volvo’s global business, but the U.S. business remains a laggard.

Taking the helm two years ago, Mr. Samuelsson’s initial job was to lift the Swedish brand’s profile in China. Bought by Chinese auto maker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. for $1.8 billion in 2010, Volvo responded to pressure to significantly lift volumes in Geely’s home country, with sales up 35% in 2014.

The company, meanwhile, has hired consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to help sort out the situation in the U.S. Once a bigger player in America, sales have fallen 8.2% in 2014 compared with 2013, and its 0.3 percentage points of U.S. market share, or about 60,000 vehicle sales, is equivalent to little-known Fiat or a niche brand such as Land Rover.

The introduction of a new version of the XC90 family-sized SUV and a commitment to double the U.S. marketing budget in 2015 should jump-start the operation, he said. Down the road, a bevy of new products, such as an XC40 compact SUV, and a focus on Volvo’s core values—including safety—need to help Volvo boost sales by 40% in just a few years.

“It’s absolutely crucial for the brand to be global,” Mr. Samuelsson said. “If we would lose ground in the U.S. and become some kind of Chinese-European brand it’s not going be the same. The U.S. has to comeback.”

In 2015, Volvo plans to grow U.S. volumes from 60,500 sold cars to 78,000, according to an internal McKinsey report, and win back some market share in the process. By 2018, the goal is to sell 100,000 cars and post break-even operating results.

Its marketing budget will be boosted by a $200 million injection over the coming two years, on top of money it is already set to spend.

Mr. Samuelsson is encouraged by recent progress, as the brand’s monthly sales have stabilized. But he says it is too early to declare any victories.

The internal report published by McKinsey recently for Volvo shows how big the challenge is. Years of modest spending on advertising has severely damaged brand awareness, and led to a dealer network that is underutilized, the consultants concluded.

Volvo has the third largest dealer network in the U.S., but the number of sold cars per dealer is far below its competitors. In 2013, Volvo sold 203 cars per dealer, compared with BMW AG, which sold 915 cars per dealer, and Toyota Motor Co.’s Lexus, which sold 1175 cars per dealer.

The average premium car brands in the U.S. sold around 700 cars per dealer last year.

As a result, Volvo dealers are getting less profitable while most other luxury stores have seen their margins double.

Mr. Samuelsson said the answer isn’t to cut back on dealers. Instead, the company needs to better communicate its core message: Volvo builds “cars that protect what is important to you.”

The company is introducing new safety features to revive its image as the leader in safety. It’s new XC90, for instance, has an auto-braking function that automatically stops the car when something else unexpectedly gets in the way. The SUV also uses sensors to “hook up” with the car in front of it to regulate a safe distance.”

John Krafcik, a longtime automotive executive now running TrueCar.com, agrees safety is “an obvious anchor, and (Volvo) can still own it.” He suggests Volvo needs to make high-tech safety features free, giving Volvo a potential differentiation against German auto makers charging for the equipment.

To get its message out, however, Volvo needs to invest in advertising. Mr. Krafcik suggests “they need to spend big on marketing (the new XC90)—they’ve spent several billion on the product, now they need to get out and talk about it.”

Opening up the wallet would represent a shift for Volvo, which has decreased marketing spending significantly over the last decade, alongside the decline in the number of cars sold. While spending roughly the same amount on marketing per car sold as competitors, Volvo’s overall marketing spending was just $76 million in the U.S. last year, compared with the premium brand average of $228 million, according to McKinsey’s study.

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May Sales Up 8.2 Percent, SAAR at 15.31 Million Units

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. — Total light vehicle sales in May, according to AutoData Corp. were up 8.2 percent vs. a year ago, with the industry delivering more than 1.44 million vehicles.

Sales paced at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.31 million units, up from last May’s 13.95 million, according to Autodata Corp. Year-to-date sales increased 7.3 percent to more than 6.42 million units. Big winners for the month were Chrysler, Ford, GM, Kia, Nissan, Porsche and Subaru, all of which reported a record-breaking month.

BMW: Sales for the BMW Group increased 10.1 percent to 31,174 units sold. Year to date, BMW Group sales (BMW and Mini) were up 6.3 percent on sales of 139,142 units in the first five months of 2013.

BMW brand sales increased 13.8 percent in May for a total of 25,230 units sold. The best performing vehicles included the 3 Series (up 47.2 percent), the Z4 Roadster (up 19 percent), the 6 Series (up 26.1 percent) and the X6 SAV (up 18.4 percent).

Mini sold 5,944 vehicles, a 3.4 percent decrease from the same month a year ago. Year-to-date sales were also down 1.1 percent on volume of 25,785 units.

Chrysler: Total sales for Chrysler Group LLC were 166,596 units, the manufacturer’s best May sales since 2007. Compared to a year ago, sales were up 11 percent. Chrysler Group also reached 38 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains.

Additionally, eight Chrysler Group vehicles set sales record in May, with the Jeep Wrangler (up 13 percent) and Compass (up 42 percent) recording their best monthly sales ever. Ram Truck brand sales were up 24 percent, the largest percentage gain of any Chrysler Group brand in May.

FIAT brand sales reached a new milestone in May, with sales surpassing 100,000 units since its reintroduction in 2011.

Ford: Ford Motor Co. reported its best May sales since 2006, with retail sales up 17 percent. Sales totaled 246,585, a 14 percent sales increase from a year ago. Cars sales were up 9 percent, utilities up 15 percent and trucks up 18 percent.

Both the Escape (29,123 vehicles sold) and Fusion (29,553 unit sold) achieved monthly sales records for four straight months with 26 percent and 10 percent increases, respectively, from a year ago. The Lincoln MKZ realized an increase of 42 percent vs. a year ago, the models best-ever May sales.

General Motors: The manufacturer sold 252, 894 vehicles in May, a 3 percent increase form a year ago. It was GM’s highest monthly sales since September 2008.

Chevrolet had its best retail sales month since August 2009, while sales at Cadillac jumped 40 percent from a year ago to 13,808 vehicles sold — the brand’s best May since 2007. Sales of the Chevrolet Silverado rose 25 percent to more than 43,000 units sold. General Motors also saw double-digit increase from small cars, including the Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze, as well as the Buick Verano. Sales of the Chevrolet Tahoe were also up 29 percent from a year ago.

Honda: American Honda’s May sales increased 4.5 percent from 2012 to 140,013 units sold (up 4.5 percent based on the Daily Selling Rate). The Honda brand posted May 2013 sales of 125,649 units, a 5.2 percent increase, while the Acura brand sales decreased 1.5 percent to 14,364 units sold.

Honda light trucks posted a May sales record, with the CR-V leading the way with an 8.4 percent sales increase vs. a year ago. Sales of the Pilot and Odyssey were also up 11.3 and 15 percent, respectively. Sales of the Honda Accord were up 11.7 percent, while the Fit posted a double-digit sales gain (20.3 percent). Sales of the Honda Civic totaled 30,268 units in May.

Despite the drop in sales, the Acura RDX set an all-time monthly sales record and its 13 consecutive monthly sales record with 4,930 units sold — a 49.3 percent increase from a year ago.

Hyundai: Sales for Hyundai Motor America in May increased 2 percent from a year ago to 68,358 units sold. It was the company’s second-best sales month of all time. Hyundai also set its all-time May sales record with the fastest daily-selling rate ever.

Big winners were the Elantra, with sales increasing 33 percent from a year ago to 25,090 units sold. On a year-to-date basis, Elantra sales were up 30 percent. Sonata sales topped 20,000 units in May while the new Santa Fe exceeded the 7,000-unit mark for a 21 percent sales increase on a year-to-date basis.

Kia: Total Kia sales for May 2013 represented the company’s best-ever May sales with 52,327 units sold. The Optima midsize sedan produced 15,368 deliveries, leading Kia’s sales for the 18th consecutive month. The Soul urban passenger vehicle also recorded strong monthly sales of 11,420 units.

Mazda: Sales for Mazda North American Operations increased 19.2 percent from a year ago to 24,270 units sold in May. Vehicles equipped with Skyactiv Technology accounted for a majority of total sales, with 17,875 units equipped with the technology sold in May.

Mazda3 sales rebounded in May after a down month in April, with sales increasing 5.4 percent. The CX-5 realized its best sales month ever with 7,128 vehicles sold, while the all-new 2014 Mazda6 realized its best May since 2008 with 3,944 units sold.

Mitsubishi: Total overall Mitsubishi sales were down 15 percent vs. last year. Sales of Mitsubishi models currently in production were up 31 percent compared to May 2012, but the discontinued models brought the percentage down. The Outlander Sport accounted for 2,226 units of the total 4,715 units delivered by the manufacturer.

Nissan: Nissan set a new May U.S. sales record with 114,457 units, an increase of 24.7 percent compared to May 2012. The Leaf and Pathfinder realized huge increases of 319.2 and 292.9 percent, respectively, marking the Leaf’s second-best month and the Pathfinder’s best-ever May. Infiniti sales totaled 7,899, down 25.4 percent from last May.

Porsche: Porsche Cars North America announced its best May sales month and second-best month ever with a total of 3,928 units sold. For the year, PCNA has delivered 17,609 vehicles in the U.S. market, up 31 percent over last year’s all-time record sales year. The Cayenne was the top-seller with 1,765 sold, a 50 percent increase over 2012.

Subaru: Subaru of America shattered previous monthly sales records by reaching 39,892 units in May, a 34 percent increase from 2012. It was the best sales month in company history. Year-to-date sales for Subaru total 165,362, a 21 percent increase over the same period in 2012.

Driving sales was the all-new 2014 Forester, which realized a 38 percent sales increase vs. May 2012. Outback sales increased 34 percent, while sales of the XV Crosstrek totaled 5,295 units.

Toyota: Toyota sales totaled 207,952 units in May, up 2.5 percent on a daily rate selling basis. The Toyota Division posted May sales of 187.723 units, up 2.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. Lexus reported May sales of 22,229 units, up 3.6 percent from a year ago.

Camry sales totaled 39,216 units, while the new RAV4 achieved its best-ever May sales with 20,780 units sold. The RAV4 posted its best-ever May with 20,780 unit sold (up 8 percent from a year ago), while the Tundra recorded sales of 9,950 units (up 13.5 percent from a year ago). The Scion FR-S led Scion Division with sales of 1,937 units.

Volkswagen: May sales for the German automaker totaled 38,013 units, a 1.7 percent decrease vs. the prior year. The Jetta sedan, the volume leader for Volkswagen, had its best May ever with 14,082 deliveries, up 8.6 percent from last year. The Jetta SportWagen decreased 17.4 percent to 1,828 sales.

Volvo: May sales for Volvo Cars of North America increased 1.3 percent from May 2012 to 6,329 units. Year-to-date sales were down 5.9 percent over the first five months of 2012.

The S60 sports sedan achieved a new monthly sales record with 2,739 units sold while the XC60 followed with 1,915 units sold.

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Volvo Selects Carfax for Certified Pre-Owned Program

Centreville, Va. — Volvo Cars of North America renewed its agreement to have Carfax provide vehicle history information for the Volvo Certified Pre-Owned program. Since 1999, certified Volvo dealers have run a Carfax Vehicle History Report on all Volvo cars submitted for certification. Under the new agreement, Volvo and its certified dealers will now provide consumers with a free Carfax Reports for every certified Volvo sold.

“We put our customers in top-quality cars,” said Jon Holl, general manager at Don Beyer Volvo. “For more than 10 years, Carfax Reports have helped reinforce this fact to anyone considering a certified Volvo or any other pre-owned unit on our lot. Carfax is a must-have for our staff and is the name people trust.”

Thirty-seven manufacturer brands use Carfax vehicle history reports for their certified pre-owned programs.

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