Struggling Volvo may be on a verge of a renaissance thanks to the forthcoming completion of its lauded concept car trilogy, new Drive-E engine family and much-discussed SPA modular platform. Its nascent renewal is mostly being financed by $11-billion in funding from its Chinese parent company, Geely, and if it all goes right, Volvo hopes to sell 100,000 cars a year in the States by 2016. That milestone is vital, because it would ensure Volvo's US dealer network is profitable, according to Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.

In a new Ward's Auto story, Samuelsson notes that his company is launching a slate of fresh products in the coming years, including the new-to-the-US V60 wagon and mid-cycle updates for its S60 sedan and XC60 crossover. But the most important new vehicle will be the recently spied XC90 that is expected to be unveiled just before the end of this year. Samuelsson is also looking at future vehicles for the US, including replacements for the S80 and V70. The V40 is also planned for the US, but not until the next generation, according to the Volvo CEO.

Of course, it's going to take a lot to reach 100,000 US sales in three years. Volvo sold just 61,233 units here in 2013, and according to WardsAuto, Volvo hasn't sold 100,000 cars in the US since 2007. To reach its goal, Volvo's stateside business will need to grow sales by about 40 percent.

For the coming year, the Swedish automaker is hoping to be profitable globally again like it was in 2013, which is likely because of its rapid growth in China. If Samuelsson can stick to his promises, he may just be able to help turn the Swedish marque around in the US, too.


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  • 34 Comments
      cpmanx
      • 10 Months Ago
      To reach 100,000 units, Volvo sales will have to increase 63%, not 40%. Innumeracy is a sad thing...
        Ryan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @cpmanx
        Yay for at least one person who can do jr high level math..
      sckid213
      • 10 Months Ago
      I really think that Subaru has swooped in and captured Volvo's traditional buyers of previous decades. The current "They lived" Subaru commercial hits all the selling points Volvo used to spout. So now Volvo is in this no-mans-land of near luxury, near-performance cars in a very crowded field.
        MikeInNC
        • 10 Months Ago
        @sckid213
        Perhaps in safety and value but definitely not in styling and definitely not in the interiors department. I do think Subaru is quite a good value but their interiors seem to be just a notch over a mid 80's GM built econobox.
          Greg
          • 10 Months Ago
          @MikeInNC
          Yet, considering their sales increases, that doesn't seem to bother many people.
        ufgrat
        • 10 Months Ago
        @sckid213
        My local Volvo dealer is also a Subaru dealer. Go figure. But honestly, none of the Subarus they had on the lot interested me.
      ufgrat
      • 10 Months Ago
      Bring over the V40 (and other interesting cars), kick out a replacement for the C30 and try not to market it as either a teenymobile or a luxury coupe (it wasn't either), and try some actual marketing. An understanding of American culture that wasn't written in 1975 might also help.
      thomas.leopard
      • 10 Months Ago
      Very excited for the supercharged and turbocharged drive-E engines. Same with KERS.
      Randy915
      • 10 Months Ago
      Start by designing a better interior... the current design is hideous and antiquated looking.
        Nicholas
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Randy915
        Volvo interiors are the epitome of Scandinavian cool.
      aaab.baaa
      • 10 Months Ago
      Volvo is just an expensive Ford
        ufgrat
        • 10 Months Ago
        @aaab.baaa
        No, not really. They have some parts in common (although fewer, now that Ford and Volvo have parted ways), but otherwise... Your grasp on reality is lacking.
      Bernard
      • 10 Months Ago
      Start making cars that can last 100k miles without falling apart. Then we'll talk about sales.
        Aaron N
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Bernard
        Uh they do. Volvos are some pretty solid cars right now.
          Bernard
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Aaron N
          No they used to be, after 1999 when Ford bought them they started going to crap. My fiance's car is at 164,000 and all of the fluids are leaking, the interior door handle fell off, interior parts are crumbling, the sunroof has no padding left it's just bare metal, and it doesn't move. Meanwhile my neighbors 1st gen Jeep Liberty is pushing 190k miles just fine, the only thing broken on it is the heater.
        Cory Stansbury
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Bernard
        Are you high? Volvos are about the longest lasting cars on the face of the earth. With the exception of a few model years (99-2003), they have been exceptional.
          CH
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          @sjmoo You're wrong yet again. Volvo's reliability has actually improved a little faster than the industry average. The bottom line is that reliability has very little to do with Volvo's recent woes in the U.S. Volvo sales increased year-over-year from 2000 to reach their highest level in 2004. The sales leaders were the P2 platform cars introduced 1998 -2002 which were all below average reliability, as was the brand overall - moreso than in the post-2004 period of decline. The single biggest reason for the sales decline is the lack of new models and enhancements, mostly due to insufficient investment from Ford. The first generation S60 was launched in 2000 but the second generation didn't arrive until 2011, and the model was absent for model year 2010. The XC90, released in 2002, still lingers after nearly 12 years. The current line-up is by far the oldest in the segment with all models, except the S60, five or more years old, while competitors have been releasing a barrage of new products - complete redesigns of existing models plus completely new models. Volvo has been behind in engines, transmissions, fuel economy, infotainment systems, etc. Hence the massive investment in new platforms, models, engines and transmissions under Geely. Other factors include adverse currency exchange rates (no US factory) and the dramatic decline of wagons, a traditional Volvo strength.
          sjmoo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          Unfortunately, that hasn't been true since the late '90's. Modern Volvos are no longer built to the standard they once were. Take a look at any reliability survey from the last few years and you will see Volvo in the bottom half of the rankings in almost every one. Their powertrains are still robust, but they have become poster children for electrical gremlins. Volvo wouldn't have one of the worst customer retention percentages in the industry (only 30% of owners buy another) if they were still building the cars they used to. I'm hopeful they can turn things around as they become more distanced from Ford's crappy parts bin, though.
          Cory Stansbury
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          I have been following the reliability surveys. The new Volvos have been doing fantastically well.
          sjmoo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          Also, I should note that I actually like the new Volvos a lot. I think their uniquely Scandinavian feel is pretty cool and I would definitely consider leasing one. However, purchasing a Volvo remains a dubious proposition.
          sjmoo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          @CH, That is very true, but it doesn't change my point. If Volvo was still making the great cars they became known for they would still be near the top of the reliability charts. Instead, they started building to a price rather than to a standard and their reliability has not kept pace with the rest of the industry. Yes, a 2014 Volvo is going to be better than a 1995 Volvo, but that is irrelevant since people are not going to be buying 19 year old cars. The simple truth is that at one point buying a Volvo meant getting one of the most reliable cars the industry had to offer. Today it means buying one that is well below average. As to your final point, the CR result speaks exactly to my previous point. That survey was based on just 3 models: the XC70, the S60, and the XC60. The XC70 was well above average, the XC60 was simply average, and the S60 was well below average. Volvo's oldest cars are propping them up in these reliability surveys. Their new cars are a big disappointment.
          CH
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          @sjmoo To tell whether Volvos (or other brands) are more reliable today than in previous years you need to compare problem rates, not rankings. Today's Volvos are more reliable than the ones from the early 2000s, which are in turn more reliable than the ones from the 1990s. For example the problem rate was 152 problems/100 cars on the 2014 JD Power 3-year survey compared to 330 on the 2003 survey.. As a reference, the problem rate of the most reliable brand, Lexus, on the 2003 survey was 163 problems/100 cars. Generally, just about every brand is far more reliable today than it was in the early 2000s, regardless of changes in rankings, Incidentally, Volvo is 7th in Consumer Reports reliability rankings.
          sjmoo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Cory Stansbury
          @Cory, The new Volvos have been middling at best. The few surveys where Volvo does really well still include older models like the S40 that did have strong reliability records. The S60 and XC60 are not standouts in anyway.
      Dfelix70
      • 10 Months Ago
      Yeah, I decided to steer clear from Volvo after my friend's BRAND NEW car's engine blew up…yes, blew up…2 days after she bought it. And of course Volvo is suffering in sales. When it takes them 12+ years to give an all-new XC90, even the most loyal customers aren't going to stick around and wait for it. When they got tired of their outdated XC90, they moved on to the MDX or Q7.
        ThatsHowIRoll
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Dfelix70
        For what it's worth, my Volvo is 17 months old and has been absolutely flawless in every way. The 5-cylinder engine in particular has a pretty solid reputation, but it's going away.
      postpast
      • 10 Months Ago
      I may be alone. but I can't remember the last Volvo commercial or marketing piece that I have seen(truck commercial excluded). The closest Volvo dealer is also over 100km's away; there are four Chevy dealers and two Mazda dealers between here and there. If there is a reason to buy a Volvo over a competitor, they sure aren't doing a good job of explaining to me why.
        ufgrat
        • 10 Months Ago
        @postpast
        DING DING DING!!! We have a winner! The only reason I bought a C30 2 years ago was I saw a Top Gear episode with the Polestar C30 and became interested in the car. Not because of local advertising or reviews.
      Lucky Stars
      • 10 Months Ago
      I want a volvo the problem is the products don't match. I am in the market for an executive car. It is hard to beat a 3 year old certified E class. You get good looks, the right size, and of course badge for 35,000. I want to like the volvo s60, it just looks so plain. I can't put my finger on it. The pictures of the upcoming C class are intriguing and even the older A4 new is a little more then the used E class but has better looks then the S60. The only really compelling vehicle for me is the Xc60. Compared to its rivals it has allot going go for it with great size and looks and starting price. I will take a final test drive of the Xc60, Audi A4 and Mercedes E with early bets thinking the Used E Class takes the checkered flag due to its badge panache
      icerabbit
      • 10 Months Ago
      Unfortunately that is the same old promise we have been hearing for several years, that updates are coming in the next few years regarding the XC70 and XC90. Every other vehicle besides the 60s is gone from the US market (C30 V50.. convertible), so the minimum cost is going up. And you want everybody to buy a new vehicle at a premium with a 4-cyl engine as the only option? Good luck increasing sales. I gave up waiting for the new XC70.
      Dane Grant
      • 10 Months Ago
      I like these goals the auto manufactures create... But they hold back on some of their good stuff in Europe... Volvo has the V40 and V40 Cross-Country in Europe which might sell 20,000+ (guess) units here, Volkswagen has the UP!, Polo and Passat Wagon which would add to their bottom line... Fiat has the Panda and Panda 4x4 which would expand their portfolio.... Even Ford has the Focus Wagon and The Fusion (Mondeo) Wagon, B-Max, Non-Hybrid C-max and C-Max Plus and they have the Galaxy and S-Max. The S-Max I think would be a big seller here... I don't get it.... Who is telling them no?
        Lastchance
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Dane Grant
        Americans are saying no to wagons. Wagons for some reason have a negative stigma attached to them in this country. It is an irrational dislike since wagons are very practical and get better gas mileage than CUV, and SUVs. People just don't buy them in the numbers needed to make it feasible for companies to bring them into the country. Some companies such as VW, and Volvo are willing to buck the trend but they still don't sell well. Maybe over time it will change since wagon at one time were pretty popular.
          Greg
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Lastchance
          The trend if wagons being replaced by SUVs is not just a US thing. Every automaker sees small, global SUVs as a strong growth area. I think marketing wagons as utility vehicles in the US is a sure failure because to be successful at that, you will kill your SUV dales. Rather, the move Volvo & others are doing by calling them "sportwagons" is better because a wagon beating an SUV in driving dynamics isn't threatening to the SUV. Also, small cars don't sell we'll in the US. Tiny cars that sell well globally are seen as cheap kids' cars here.
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