Volvo back on growth track

ROAD AHEAD: Charles Frump

Calcutta: Volvo, the Swedish marque, is set to witness a 25 per cent year-on-year growth in India as it closes the year with sales at over 2,000 units.

The car maker is on a growth trajectory, both globally and locally.

"Globally and in India it's been a good year for us. Globally, we have touched half a million sales and in India it's the fourth straight year of growth for us," said Charles Frump, managing director of Volvo Auto India, at the launch of the XC60 last week.

While the company faced the twin challenges of demonetisation in 2016 and the implementation of the GST and cess this year, it has weathered these factors like the rest of the industry and is back on track.

"The effects of demonetisation and the GST and cess implementation lasted longer than we expected through October. It was a bit of a challenge for us. But by November we have been back on track," said Frump.

The company has started its assembling facility in Bangalore from October. At present, the S90 and the XC90 are being assembled at the plant.

"We priced these cars quite aggressively. So, we continue with the same pricing even after local assembly," said Frump. "Going forward we are going to expand our local assembly," he added.

Globally, Volvo will stop making the internal combustion engine (ICE) from 2019 and will only make electric cars, mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electrics.

"We will follow the global policy but what will happen in India is that the ICE will be phased out gradually as we have to sell off the existing inventory," said Frump.

When asked if Volvo was ready to bring its BS-VI compliant vehicles to India before 2020 given that the central government has promised to make the fuel available in Delhi, Frump said: "We have the technology available but unless BS-VI fuel is available throughout the country, it might not be viable for us to bring those vehicles ahead of time."

Volvo's largest selling vehicle, the XC60, was launched at a retail price of Rs 55.9 lakh, ex-showroom. The vehicle sold over a million units globally. In India, it comprised 30 per cent of the national sales.

The company is also set to expand its network with the second dealership in Calcutta set to come up in March next year. It plans to have 30 dealerships in the next two years.


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