Volvo Car UK claimed the AM Awards 2021’s Manufacturer of the Year accolade after demonstrating that it was possible to pivot towards online sales and subscription services with the buy-in of its dealer partners.
Here, AM details some of the evidence behind the awards judges’ decision to recognise the Swedish premium car maker’s evolving car retail offering.
As Volvo Car UK continues its growth in the premium sector it does so while innovating the car retail landscape in partnership with its franchised car retail network.
After a less than a decade of Geely ownership, the premium brand became the only mainstream brand apart from Tesla to offer all models with an electrified plug-in drivetrain in 2019 in a range including desirable SUVs, saloon and estate cars to rival the best.
Its cars have a powerful combination of desirable styling, driver comforts, competitive monthly costs and great environmental and safety credentials.
What’s more, with the growth of its Care By Volvo subscription package and an ambition to be wholly EV, with sales 100% online by 2030, it is also evolving the way it sells cars to reach a wider audience.
Despite the shift to an omnichannel retail offering – cars can be sold at customers’ homes or in-showroom on the same Volvo retail platform – UK managing director Kristian Elvefors continues to acknowledge the ongoing importance of the brand’s franchised retailers.
And it is perhaps a result of Volvo’s sales success in recent years that its concept appears to have retailer buy-in.
In a COVID-impacted 2020 registrations outpaced a market down 29.4% with a 17.4% decline, to 46,408 (2019: 56,208), delivering a record market share of 2.85%.
That share growth has continued in 2021 to 3% year-to-date (YTD).
Such growth has resulted in profitable dealers.
Despite 2020’s dealership lockdowns, franchisees achieved an average return on sales of 1.5%, according to national sales manager Mark Cox.
This year’s registrations growth, coupled to further product and network developments, promise future profitability too.
The arrival of the C40 Recharge in showrooms gives retailers a second full-EV to sell, as workshops in Volvo’s 95-site network gear-up for the aftersales needs of fellow Geely brands Polestar, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) and Lynk&Co.
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