UK: Volvo sees higher sales in UK this year
The UK car market may be running 4% under last year but Volvo Cars says it is expecting to sell more cars in Britain this year.
Volvo is expecting to sell 35,000-36,000 cars this year, up from 30,000 in 2007. Growth is being led by the renewed interest in the C30 and strong sales of the V50.
Kevin Meeks, network and business development director for Volvo UK said that despite the total market being down again in September, Volvo is showing double digit growth for the month.
Meeks said: "We have a long way to get back to the sort of numbers we were doing in the late 1990s when we were selling 80-90,000 vehicles a year. But we have some good new products in the showrooms and with the XC60 coming, if we can get people into the cars we know we can sell them."
While sales of the C30 have been slow since launch in January 2007, Meeks said the R Design styling package has boosted interest in the car.
"R Design has hit a real sweet spot with customers, the cars look more dynamically engaging and we are now getting a lot more showroom traffic. Particularly important is that we are now getting a lot more interest from customers in the 30-35 age range."
Dealers are also working harder, he said. "The network is a lot happier with the franchise now than they were two years ago when we were in the lower quarter of the National Franchised Dealer Association's Attitude Survey. They did not feel we were supporting them well in terms of advertising and consequently showroom traffic was down.
"We have now moved up 13 places and are knocking on the door of the top half of the NFDA survey. The feedback we are getting is much better and dealer profitability has improved. This is partly down to them as well, they are working harder and focusing better on fixed costs and just being smarter about the way they do business."
Despite the tough market conditions Meeks said Volvo would not be looking to offer big sales incentives or over supply dealers with vehicles.
He added: "We are looking to balance the supply and protect residual values.
"We have worked hard to bring down dealer stocks and we are committed more now to customer order."