The Swedish automaker has announced that Kerssemakers is assuming another senior vice presidency, this time with responsibility for the Americas, North and South. Included in his new appointment is the role of President and CEO of Volvo Cars North America, reporting directly to Volvo chief Hakan Samuelson.
In the latter capacity, he takes over from Tony Nicolosi, outgoing head of the North American office, who took over the job on a tentative basis in October 2013 and was confirmed to the post a year ago. Nicolosi will now be responsible for Volvo Cars Financial Services for the Americas, leaving the rest of the American business for Kerssemakers to run as Gothenburg aims to relaunch itself with a raft of new products and technologies – starting with the new XC90.
Volvo Cars has appointed Lex Kerssemakers, currently Senior Vice President for Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management, as its new Senior Vice President Americas, underscoring the company's commitment to the core American market.
In his new role, Mr Kerssemakers will be responsible for North and South America and report to Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars' president and chief executive. He will also assume the role of President and chief executive of Volvo Cars of North America.
Mr Kerssemakers is one of Volvo's most skilled executives with over 30 years' experience in the automotive industry and 16 years in executive and senior management roles at Volvo.
He has worked and lived in UK, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, leading international teams, and has a deep experience-based understanding of industry mechanisms, acquired through senior positions in corporate and product strategy, purchasing and sales and marketing.
"I am looking forward to this challenge," said Mr Kerssemakers. "The US is a key market for the development of the group and today we get back onto the front foot. Volvo is not only in the US to stay, it is in the US to prosper."
Volvo has an ambitious strategy for the US market and is implementing a US Revival Plan which aims to return annual sales to over 100,000 cars in the medium term, compared to around 56,000 in 2014, driven by a renewal of the entire product range by the end of 2017. It also plans to unlock the full potential of the Canadian and Latin American markets.
"The scale of our ambition in the American region meant we needed a member of our executive management team with the drive, determination and motivation to make it happen," said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive officer. "His appointment underlines our commitment to taking our rightful place as a successful and growing premium car maker in the Americas."
Volvo's US Revival Plan has five main elements. They are:
- The complete renewal of the product range beginning with the all-new XC90 SUV, the V60 Cross Country wagon and the S60 Cross Country sedan
- A full scale strengthening of the brand with the marketing budget set to increase significantly
- A focus on developing the dealer network to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support brand development and new products
- A focus on managing residual values to ensure that the company's premium position is reflected in the long term value of its products
- A drive to improve service operations and deliver real profit opportunities to the dealer network as well as an uncompromising approach to service quality
Lex Kerssemakers' move to his new position is the latest in a series of management appointments that have been taken to drive its revival in the US. Tony Nicolosi, currently President and chief executive of Volvo Cars North America, will become President of Volvo Cars Financial Services for the Americas.