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Changes in Volvo executives!

2024-05-30 Update From: AutoBeta NAV: AutoBeta > News >


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On May 2nd Volvo announced an executive change on its website. Javier Varela, Volvo's chief operating officer and deputy chief executive, is leaving. In addition, three executives, Erik Severinson, chief product and strategy officer, Anders Bell, chief engineering and technology officer, and Francesca Gamboni, chief supply chain officer, will join the management team and report directly to Jim Rowan, CEO of Volvo.

Javier Varela has been a key member of the executive team since 2016 and has served as chief operating officer and deputy chief executive since 2022, witnessing several important milestones for Volvo, according to official sources.

Anders Bell has been the head of Engineering at Volvo Automotive since 2022, leading automotive engineering, hardware and software development and safety, with 25 years of engineering experience in the automotive industry, including 18 years at Volvo Automotive and 6 years at Tesla; Erik Severinson joined the group management team in 2023 and served as head of Strategic and Plan Management for Volvo Automotive Engineering and Operations since 2022. Previously served as head of industrial strategy and group financial director; Erik Severinson began to work at Volvo in 2004. In the new position of Chief Product and Strategy Officer, responsible for corporate and product strategy, automotive project management, quality and sustainability.

For the three executives to join the management team, Jim Rowan, chief executive of Volvo, said: "I am pleased that Anders, Erik and Francesca have joined the Volvo executive team. This change will help achieve technological and business transformation while flattening the operating structure."

Volvo, born in 1927, is a well-known Swedish luxury brand and is considered to be one of the first traditional luxury brands to start electrification transformation. As early as 2017, Volvo proposed a comprehensive electrification strategy and further deepened and clarified the market layout in 2021. In 2021, Volvo said it would account for 50% of its all-electric models by 2025, with the rest in hybrid models. Volvo will transform into a pure electric brand by 2030, when it will sell only pure electric cars, eliminating all cars with internal combustion engines worldwide.

At present, electrification transformation is considered to be an important part of Volvo's sustainable strategy, but from the sales data, Volvo's performance in the field of new energy is very mediocre. Volvo's global sales totaled 182687 vehicles in the first quarter of this year, up 12% from a year earlier, according to data. Among them, Volvo car sales in Europe totaled 89670 vehicles in the first quarter, up 23% from the same period last year; 30950 in the US market, up 17% from the same period last year; and 37958 in China, up 4% from the same period last year. Among them, sales of new energy models were 2443, down 36% from the same period last year. Although Volvo's Chinese market also grew in the first quarter, there is still a lack of bright spots in the performance of new energy models.

At present, Volvo's sales in the Chinese market still rely on fuel cars, and the only electric cars are mainly mixed models. Retail data show that in the first quarter of this year, Volvo sold the top three models in China, respectively, XC60, S90 and S60, with sales of 16448, 8425 and 4090 respectively, followed by XC40 with 1868, and the rest were less than 1,000. Obviously, in China's new energy market, Volvo has obviously lagged behind Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Tesla and other luxury car companies. "Automotive Industry concern" believes that under the background of the substantial expansion of new energy vehicles, the luxury car market has been eroded by new power brands such as Azura and ideals, and it is difficult for "oil to electricity" models to become mainstream in the new energy vehicle market with high volume. This is also the reason for Volvo's average sales performance in the domestic market.

Volvo's last XC90 SUV, the last Volvo car with a diesel engine, was taken off the line at Volvo's Toslanda plant in Sweden on March 26. This move means that Volvo officially bid farewell to the 45-year history of diesel production and enter a new electrified era. But Volvo officials say it will still produce cars with gasoline engines until 2030, when it will only produce electric cars.

Financial data show that Volvo's net sales in the first quarter of this year were 131.2 billion Swedish kronor (about 86.798 billion yuan), basically the same as the same period last year, but exceeded the market estimate of 129.18 billion Swedish kronor; adjusted operating profit was 18.16 billion Swedish kronor (about 12.015 billion yuan), exceeding estimate of 17.24 billion Swedish kronor; adjusted operating profit margin was 13.8%.

It is important to note that despite Volvo's ambitions for full electrification, the pace of product launch and transformation is not fast. For Volvo, "how to accelerate the electrified development of the Chinese market" is a difficult problem for Volvo in an era of uncertainty and rapid change. Volvo urgently needs to launch a model that can prove its strength in luxury electric car technology. Generally speaking, despite Volvo's strong determination in the transformation of new energy, it still has a lot of homework to make up for if it wants to run further on the new energy track. As for the "radical" transformation strategy and personnel changes, it is worth looking forward to whether Volvo can produce a satisfactory "report card" in the future.

Volvo's sales target is to grow by 15% this year.

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