In an interview with Automotive News at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, Volvo CEO Stephen Odell said uncertainty over Volvo’s future is a distraction, but that his “main and only role is to develop a plan to get Volvo back to sustainable profitability.” That plan includes emphasizing design features and fuel efficiency in its marketing.
“We want to do this in a more engaging way than we have done in the past,” Odell said. Volvo has traditionally capitalized on its reputation for safety.
Odell, along with Ford CFO Lewis Booth met with a Swedish government delegation on Monday at the Detroit auto show, presumably to discuss the future of the premium-brand automaker. Ford has said that a sale of Volvo is not out of the question, but has failed to find any serious buyers. Volvo sales dropped from 448,000 in 2007 to 374,296 in 2008.
Volvo is the last brand Ford has left in its Premier Automotive Group, which once included Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Lincoln. Lincoln was taken back into direct Ford control in 2002, Aston Martin was sold into private ownership in 2007, and Jaguar Land Rover was sold to Tata Motors last summer.
Odell, who took over as Volvo CEO last year, is optimistic about the company’s future. “I’ve been very pleasantly surprised that there’s zero negative equity in the Volvo brand,” he said. “We’ve got to build on that with the right products and the right communication.”
Source: Automotive News