INTERVIEW | Greg Maruszewski sheds light on Volvo SA’s successful 2020

09 February 2021 - 16:58 By Motoring Staff
Greg Maruszewski, managing director of Volvo Car SA.
Greg Maruszewski, managing director of Volvo Car SA.
Image: Supplied

The year 2020 was not a good one for the SA automotive industry as new car sales slumped. But not for Volvo Car SA as the company achieved a record share of the ultra-competitive luxury car market.

According to Greg Maruszewski, managing director of Volvo Car SA, the company’s served segment share was an all-time record at 9.6% in 2020. Putting this into perspective, it was a mere 2.9% as recently as 2015. The company’s December 2020 segment share was 11.5%.

Maruszewski attributes the company’s success to a number of factors.

“Product has a role to play, of course, and new vehicles such as the XC40 are doing incredibly well for us. It had an 8.40% share of its segment in 2019. That grew to 14.70% in 2020,” he reveals.

Improved customer experience has also played a role in the company’s success.

“We are constantly focusing on delivering better and better customer service, and we’re finding our customers are changing their buying patterns. There is a big shift to online browsing, partially driven by Covid-19.

“Accordingly, one of the areas on which we have been concentrating is online shopping. To serve customers better, we have developed an innovative online store which has been acknowledged as one of the best Volvo stores globally.”

Last year was also in terms of stock availability.

“In 2019, thanks to the global popularity of the XC40, we faced supply constraints. Thankfully, we didn’t have any supply issues in 2020, and this definitely bolstered sales too,” says Maruszewski.

Last year, the company also saw positive progress in terms of resale values, and this certainly didn’t harm sales either.

“When I started here in 2015 and I spoke to people about the brand, one of their biggest concerns was always low used car values. It was a perception problem and we’ve worked hard to change that. In 2017, we introduced guaranteed residual values and this has improved resale values and seen consumers regain confidence in the brand. With some of our nameplates – XC40, for instance – we now lead the segment in terms of resale values,” Maruszewski reveals.

Looking into the future a definite highlight for Volvo Car SA will be the launch of the XC40 Recharge, which is Volvo’s first all-electric compact SUV.

“Volvo Cars recently reported the strongest second-half sales numbers in the company’s history in 2020, largely thanks to fast-growing demand for its electrified cars. We won’t see exactly the same trend here. Without government support, we are not going to grow the electric car market. The XC40 Recharge won’t be a volume seller. Its launch will be a brand-building campaign,” explains Maruszewski.

What of market share?

“It’s going to be tough to improve on our performance in 2020,” Maruszewski concedes. “But we aim to achieve a segment share of 10% in 2021. After all, we certainly cannot go backwards or stay as is.”