Volvo targets Korea’s luxury car market

Volvo targets Korea’s luxury car market

Volvo Cars has set its sights on emerging as a new, visible player in South Korea’s imported car market with the introduction of “Swedish luxury” to local customers this year.

By launching its upgraded luxury sport utility vehicle XC90 and midsize luxury sedan S90 here in the coming months, Volvo expects 2016 to mark the beginning of its success as a luxury car brand in Korea.

“2016 will be a pivotal year for Volvo Cars Korea,” said Lars Danielson, senior vice president of Volvo Cars’ Asia-Pacific operations, said during a press conference held in Seoul on Friday.

The brand’s key goal is “to differentiate itself from German, British and Italian luxury” by delivering Volvo’s cutting-edge technology, heritage and values to Korean consumers, Danielson said.

To do so, the Swedish automaker is planning to roll out the all-new XC90 in Korea in June and the S90 around December, both of which have gained positive receptions since their global debuts.

The XC90, which debuted in global markets in late 2014, has been receiving “fantastic attention by the industry,” winning the prestigious Red Dot Design Award in 2015 and being named “Best Truck of the Year” at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, Danielson said.

The luxury SUV is based on a new global platform developed by the Swedish automaker called Scalable Product Architecture and boasts a high performance four-cylinder Drive-E power train as well as a sleek design, among other features.

More than 88,000 units of the XC90 were sold in 2015, driving up Volvo’s net sales volume by 8 percent on-year to set its best performance to date, according to the automaker.

Eyeing the continued global success of its latest luxury SUV, particularly in Asia, as well as the foreseen commercialization of the S90, Volvo has set more than 800,000 vehicles as its global sales target in 2016.

“To achieve this, we need to more than double our sales in the Asia-Pacific region,” Danielson said, stressing the importance of its Korean operations in achieving this goal.

“Korea is a key market for Volvo Cars,” the Volvo executive said, highlighting the brand’s fast-paced growth in Korea over the past two years, despite the absence of new car models, according to Volvo.

Volvo Korea’s sales jumped 42.4 percent to 4,238 in 2015 from the previous year, while its sales expanded by 55 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to Volvo.

Aiming to strengthen its footing in Korea, the Swedish automaker said it would expand the number of showrooms in Korea from 16 to 19 and the number of repair centers from 15 to 20 by the end of 2016.

The carmaker will also “be able to secure the (Korean) market with sufficient XC90 vehicles,” according to Danielson, dismissing concerns regarding the brand’s production capacity and supply allocation.

Volvo plans to unveil the XC90 to the Korean media in March, and begin sales here in June. Official prices and details have yet to be announced.


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