Famous for its big estate cars (wagons), Volvo is learning how to play in the smaller car sector following the launch of its C30.

Not only is the car smaller, but the competition is particularly fierce in this sector of the market and there is a steep learning curve for the company and its dealers.

Managing director of Volvo UK, Stuart Kerr, said: “The C30 is beginning to work for us. We are still just a very small player in this segment of the market but what we can bring to it is all the Volvo core values.

“We will just have to learn how to play in the segment and that goes for the dealers as well. If we can get up to 5,000 sales a year then we will be happy.”

Speaking at the launch of the latest facelifts for those famous estates, Kerr added: “We have had a fairly late start with the car in terms of sales in the UK but we wanted to make sure we had a stable supply of vehicles.

“Historically our customers are not C30 buyers but if you look at the way the market is going with people downsizing we do have a very broad, over-50s customer base with a lot of disposable income.

“Yes, we do want to attract younger customers into the car, but we don’t want to lose our existing ones.”

While the C30 is drawing new customers into Volvo dealerships, the rest of the model line up is benefiting.

“We are seeing that people are going in to showrooms to look at C30, but are also becoming interested in our other models.”

Is a downsizing market a problem looming for Volvo, traditionally a maker of pretty large cars?

Kerr said: “Rich people will always buy very expensive cars while most people buy a cheaper runaround.

“We are closer to the expensive end and as people become more socially aware, they may start trading down from the very expensive models into ours.”