"Our target was to break even... but I can declare already today
that... we are back in the black, which is extremely positive,"
Samuelsson told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the
Detroit auto show.
Samuelsson was referring to operating profit, Volvo officials said.
Volvo is expected to announce its financial results for the year in
March. For the first half of 2013, the company posted an operating
loss of 577 million SEK ($88.71 million), according to a company
Samuelsson attributed the turnaround to Volvo's successful
restructuring of its distribution network in China, which led to a
46 percent boost last year in volume in that country to 61,146
vehicles, as well as to an overhauling of its cost structure
Because of its aggressive cost cuts, Volvo was able to make money
even though it posted only modest gains in global sales volume in
2013, Samuelsson said. Volvo sold a total of 427,840 vehicles last
year, up 1.4 percent from 2012.
"This year our focus will be growth," he said. "If last year was
sort of a year of consolidation, this year will be a year of
A key component of that growth strategy, Samuelsson said, is the
United States market, where the Swedish brand has struggled. Last
year, according to research firm Autodata, Volvo's U.S. sales fell
10.1 percent to 61,233 vehicles.
Volvo's message is that "we're committed to the U.S. market,"
Samuelsson said. "This year will be a year when we outperform the
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Samuelsson said the company, which was purchased by Zhejiang Geely
Holding Group from Ford Motor Co. in 2010, hopes to regain growth
momentum with some key new products.
Those new models include the significantly redesigned XC-90
crossover vehicle, which he said should be unveiled later this year
and start hitting show-rooms in the United States and elsewhere
around the start of 2015.
"We will invest more in marketing and communications. We have new
products. We will be more competitive with these vehicles," the
executive said. "The U.S. is one focus point for us this year."
Samuelsson also said Volvo could begin to bring some vehicles
manufactured at its new plant in the Chinese city of Chengdu into
the United States in an effort to insulate the company from
dollar-Euro currency swings.
"The dollar and the RMB (yuan) have a more stable relationship than
the Euro and the dollar. So in a way also China will have a big
advantage (as a production hub) for the U.S. That is the possibility
and also of course using more Chinese materials in the car,"
(Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; editing
by Dan Grebler)
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