When Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) announced its financial results for the previous year 2014, it was clear that China is playing a key role. As the company’s largest market, Volvo Cars sold over 80,000 cars there.
In Europe, meanwhile, Volvo grew twice as fast as the overall market and all of its main competitors in the region.
The all-time sales record of 465,866 cars was an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to 427,840 in 2013, and was supported by strong performances in China and Europe.
Volvo reported a 17.4 per cent increase in operating profit for 2014 to 2,252 MSEK, compared to 1,919 MSEK in 2013, as record sales cleared the way for the company to continue investing in its global transformation. Revenue for the year was 129,959 MSEK, up from 122,245 MSEK in 2013. The car brand has now reported sales growth every month since July 2013.
“It is essential to remember that the company is in an investment phase right now,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive. “The fruits of these investments will start to be felt from this year.
Volvo Cars is investing in a global transformation as part of its long term strategic ambition to enhance its position as a global premium car maker. Driven by the complete renewal of its product range, Volvo is aiming to double sales to around 800,000 cars a year in the medium term.
During 2014, Volvo Cars took several important steps towards achieving these goals.
It unveiled the all-new Volvo XC90, which is built on an entirely new, in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) technology, which improves driveability and provides a wider range of design options. SPA will be used across the product range in future and will generate economies of scale, improvements in productivity and improved profitability.
The XC90 also features Volvo Cars’ new in-house developed Drive-E powertrain, which provides a world leading combination of power and low carbon emissions. Drive-E will also be introduced across the product range in future. In addition, the XC90 offers world first safety technologies and the most comprehensive safety package on the market as standard.
In 2014, the company also continued to expand its industrial footprint in China and Europe.
Production of the best-selling XC60 started at its Chengdu plant, while the company also expanded its manufacturing footprint in China by announcing that SPA-based cars will be built at its plant in Daqing. In Sweden, the re-introduction of a third shift in the Torslanda plant was announced, creating 1,300 new jobs.
“Looking back at 2014’s performance gives me confidence in our future performance,” said Mr Samuelsson. “By any measure, Volvo Cars is performing well. Sales are growing, a range of all new products are on the way, we are leading the field in new technologies and Volvo Cars is well positioned for the future.”
Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world. As of December 2014, Volvo Cars had over 25,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium) and Chengdu (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China) and body components in Olofström (Sweden).