One year ago, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group completed the acquisition of Volvo Car Corporation from Ford Motor Company. Since then they have become a stand-alone company with China as “second home market”, and entered a new chapter in Volvo Cars 84 year history of development.
In China, Volvo Car Corporation’s management team led by Freeman Shen is well established and Volvo Car China has now grown from a national sales company into a full-fledged organisation with its headquarter in Shanghai. Now when we are talking about Volvo Car China Operation, we are talking about a subsidiary in China which includes sales and marketing, manufacturing, purchasing, product development and all other supporting functions.
We have started building the Chengdu plant, and investigations are ongoing for a potential plant in Daqing. It will be extremely important to use the Volvo manufacturing and quality systems in these plants so that we will build the same quality Volvo cars and engines as those being built for Volvo elsewhere.
Our R&D organisation in Shanghai will become the centre for product development, engineering, design and sourcing in China, and an important and integrated part of our global product development network. Our diversified product development team has taken on engineering tasks in new product design and local sourcing as well as supporting global teams in new product and new technology development.
Meanwhile, we are developing and optimising the supply base in China not only for the China plants but also for Volvo Cars’ entire global operation. Currently, it is our priority to hire new staff to work with product development for the Chinese market and support local production and purchasing activities. We will implement the same quality standards as those in Europe and are willing to build a long-term relationship with our suppliers in China. A design center is being located in Shanghai to support the global design team in understanding the market trend in China and the preference of Chinese consumers.
There is also full focus to increase sales in China by strengthening sales and marketing activities, including expanding the dealer network, recruiting and training sales consultants and improving customer experience and satisfaction.
China Growth Plan Progress
We have made lots of progress in China in the past year. Sales increased by 36 per cent, to 21,000 units by the end of June, compared with the same period last year. Our sales network is expanding systematically, with increased interest and enthusiasm from dealers across the country. In the first half of 2011, 11 new dealers joined our sales force and turned the total dealer number to 117 nationwide. We are also working on further improvement of customer satisfaction together with our dealers.
China overtook the United States as the world’s largest car market in 2009, and continued a strong growth momentum in 2011, especially in the market segment where we are competing. In the luxury car segment, the sales boom has provided tremendous opportunities for us. However, our goal of selling 200,000 vehicles per year from last year’s amount of 30,000 vehicles will not be an easy job. This requires lots of hard work, passion for our customers and cars, speed to market and smart thinking from all of us.
Nobody has ever done what we are doing today. We are not just another multinational company in China. Here we are making history together. Facing the market and fierce competition, we need to have a strong sense of urgency and install great courage to achieve our ambitious goals in China.
My colleagues and I are committed to writing a new chapter in China’s auto industry. We will work very hard and smart, with customers, partners and other stakeholders to unlock the tiger of Volvo and regain its glory. Together with our global team, we will make Volvo Cars a most admired brand and one of the most successful businesses in China.
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