Volvo Car Corp. said its April sales in China rose 30% over a year earlier, making the country for the first time its biggest single market and helping offset declines for the month in Europe and North America.
Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., sold 4,710 cars in China last month. The strength in China, which has become a much larger focus for Volvo since Geely’s 2010 purchase of the brand from Ford Motor Co., helped offset Volvo’s persistent weakness in North America and Europe.
Volvo is in the process of pursuing an $11 billion overhaul that includes updating plants, vehicles and engines as well as opening new plants, and better competing in China is a big focus. In 2013, Volvo will open a Chinese plant in Chengdu with capacity to make 125,000 vehicles per year and the company has said it eventually aims to sell 200,000 vehicles in China annually.
“Given our expectations for growth in China, we will sooner or later end up in a situation where China will consistently be our largest market, but when that will happen is hard to say,” Volvo spokesman Per-Ake Froberg said on Monday.
During the first four months of 2013, Volvo’s total sales were down 6.4% compared with the year-ago period on an 11.5% decline in European sales. Meanwhile, in China sales increased by 27.6% in the period.