DETROIT Jan 13 Volvo Car Corp Chief Executive
Hakan Samuelsson said on Monday the Swedish automaker returned
to profitability in the year just ended after fixing its
business in China and making cost cuts.
"Our target was to break even... but I can declare already
today that... we are back in the black, which is extremely
positive," Samuelsson told Reuters in an interview on the
sidelines of the Detroit auto show.
Samuelsson was referring to operating profit, Volvo
Volvo is expected to announce its financial results for the
year in March. For the first half of 2013, the company posted an
operating loss of 577 million SEK ($88.71 million), according to
a company spokesman.
Samuelsson attributed the turnaround to Volvo's successful
restructuring of its distribution network in China, which led to
a 46 percent boost last year in volume in that country to 61,146
vehicles, as well as to an overhauling of its cost structure
Because of its aggressive cost cuts, Volvo was able to make
money even though it posted only modest gains in global sales
volume in 2013, Samuelsson said. Volvo sold a total of 427,840
vehicles last year, up 1.4 percent from 2012.
"This year our focus will be growth," he said. "If last year
was sort of a year of consolidation, this year will be a year of
A key component of that growth strategy, Samuelsson said, is
the United States market, where the Swedish brand has struggled.
Last year, according to research firm Autodata, Volvo's U.S.
sales fell 10.1 percent to 61,233 vehicles.
Volvo's message is that "we're committed to the U.S.
market," Samuelsson said. "This year will be a year when we
outperform the market."
Samuelsson said the company, which was purchased by Zhejiang
Geely Holding Group from Ford Motor Co. in 2010, hopes to regain
growth momentum with some key new products.
Those new models include the significantly redesigned XC-90
crossover vehicle, which he said should be unveiled later this
year and start hitting show-rooms in the United States and
elsewhere around the start of 2015.
"We will invest more in marketing and communications. We
have new products. We will be more competitive with these
vehicles," the executive said. "The U.S. is one focus point for
us this year."
Samuelsson also said Volvo could begin to bring some
vehicles manufactured at its new plant in the Chinese city of
Chengdu into the United States in an effort to insulate the
company from dollar-Euro currency swings.
"The dollar and the RMB (yuan) have a more stable
relationship than the Euro and the dollar. So in a way also
China will have a big advantage (as a production hub) for the
U.S. That is the possibility and also of course using more
Chinese materials in the car," Samuelsson said.