Ford Motor Company has sacked the president of Volvo Cars. The move is part of a management reshuffle and strategic overhaul, following last year’s $6.45bn acquisition of the Swedish carmaker. Dissatisfaction with Volvo’s sluggish volume growth is thought to have been a decisive factor. Margins are also low.

Tuve Johannesson, president for the past five years, is to stand down at the end of the month. His departure follows a board meeting on Tuesday chaired by Wolfgang Reitzle, head of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group – which comprises the Volvo, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lincoln and Land Rover brands.

“At a stage when new visions and new challenges lie ahead of us, it is only natural for the board and me to give management a different character and direction,” said Mr Reitzle, who is also chairman of Volvo Cars.

Mr Johannesson, who will assume a non-executive role as vice-chairman, is to be succeeded by Hans-Olov Olsson, currently head of Volvo’s North American operations. Mr Olsson has been charged with lifting Volvo’s volumes from an estimated 445,000 this year to 600,000 cars by 2004. He also pledged to double operating profits over the same period.

Mr Olsson will have to shortly decide on further development for a successor to Volvo’s mid-size S40/V40 range – currently made in Holland as part of the Nedcar joint venture with Mitsubishi. The likely move to a Ford platform places a major question mark on the Nedcar facility at Born.