Geely-owned Volvo car sales top half a million in record 2015

A Volvo logo is seen during preparations for the 2014 LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Geely-owned carmaker Volvo Car Group said on Friday it sold a record 503,127 cars last year, up 8 percent from 2014, boosted by demand for its new flagship XC90 SUV model and strong growth in the United States and Europe.

It was the first year in which Volvo, bought by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. from Ford Motor Co. F.N in 2010, reached sales above the half million unit mark.

Volvo, which targets sales of 800,000 cars in the medium term as it seeks to take on German heavyweights such as Daimler's DAIGn.DE Mercedes-Benz and BMW BMWG.DE, said it expected sales trends to continue to improve in 2016.

“Now, with a successful 2015 behind us, Volvo is about to enter the second phase of its global transformation,” Volvo Car Group Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement.

“Once completed, Volvo will have ceased being a minor automotive player and taken its position as a truly global premium car company.”

Volvo Cars, one of Sweden’s biggest firms by sales and number of employees, said its U.S sales grew 24.3 percent in 2015 following years of eroding demand.

Its sales in Europe were up 10.6 percent, while sales in China were flat for the year, tempered by slowing growth in the world’s second biggest economy, but up strongly in the fourth quarter with an 11.4 percent rise.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard