* Full-year 2012 sales fall 6.1 pct
* Sees fierce competition also in 2013
* Sees continued headwinds on margins, growth
(Adds quotes, background)
STOCKHOLM, Jan 7 Swedish car maker Volvo, owned
by Chinese group Geely, said on Monday its sales fell
6.1 percent last year, including double digit drops in China and
Sweden and a small rise in the United States, and expected a
Volvo is the biggest Chinese overseas investment in the auto
industry and the Swedish company is pinning its growth hopes on
China. Overall sales fell last year to 421,951 cars from 2011's
449,255, the group said in a statement.
"Competition in the car industry will most likely continue
to be as fierce as in 2012 as manufacturers will seek to capture
volumes and market shares in a market where the economic
situation will remain unstable," it said, expecting a
challenging year in terms of margins and growth.
It said several markets last year reported improvements,
particularly emerging and overseas markets, but that the
economic situation in mature markets and regions hit demand.
Volvo, bought from Ford Motor Co by Zhejiang Geely
Holding Group for $1.8 billion in 2010, aims to spend
about $11 billion to double total annual sales to 800,000 cars
by 2020 and boost sales in China to 200,000, from only 41,000
last year, which was a drop of 10.9 percent.
The U.S. market remained the single biggest for Volvo at
67,273 last year, up 1.2 percent.
Volvo said it expected a new plant in Chengdu in China,
aimed at being a key part of the expansion plan in the country,
to be up and running in the sescond half of 2013.
Volvo last year fired its German chief executive and
replaced him with Swedish truck sector veteran Hakan Samuelsson
as it seeks to get its China growth plans back on track.
(Reporting by Patrick Lannin, editing by Niklas Pollard)