Volvo raises the bar

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2009 was an exhilarating year for Volvo Car South Africa – the gorgeous XC60 achieved amazing results (it was nominated as a 2010 COTY finalist); our refreshed flagship S80 made waves in the executive sedan segment; we got our first images of the astounding new S60 on the way and we even teamed up with a family of vampires in the Twilight Saga: New Moon.

And, according to the latest market and sales figures, Volvo has kept it’s cool during one of the most difficult periods in automotive history. While most of Volvo’s premium competitors lost between 10 to 40 percent of their volume, Volvo South Africa managed to keep this figure to just 1%. Volvo also achieved a 0.5% growth in it’s market share (from 4,2 in 2008 to 4,7 in 2009) in a segment that actually saw an overall decline of 12%.

A large portion of Volvo’s success can be attributed to our 2010 COTY finalist, the Volvo XC60. The XC60 managed to grab an impressive share (19,6%) of the small SUV segment, which is currently one of the fastest growing automotive segments. The Volvo XC60 was initially launched in 3.0T and D5 derivatives, and the recently added 2.4D FWD model will no doubt boost sales even further.

Volvo’s solid stance, and even marginal growth, during a struggling economy is a testament to the Swedish automaker’s commitment to quality. During a time when buyers were (and remain) understandably cautious and selective, Volvo offered buyers the quality and reliability they wanted during uncertain times.

The results of the recent Kinsey Report and the Synovate Quality Awards, along with Volvo’s sales figures, prove that Volvo is undoubtedly a brand to be reckoned with.

2009 Kinsey Report

According to the latest Kinsey Report, Volvo’s S40 was awarded second place in the annual in the Family Saloon category (cars priced above R260,000). According to the report, the Volvo S40 is second least expensive in all 3 sub-sections – service, repair and crash – which is “an impressive result for what is often perceived as a very expensive vehicle.”

The annual Kinsey Report is the most comprehensive survey on vehicle parts pricing in South Africa and is a good refection of cost-of-ownership for potential buyers.

The fact that the Volvo S40 managed to beat the Mercedes C200, the Lexus IS 250, the BMW 323i as well as the Audi A4 is a true accomplishment, because this is some serious competition.

2009 Synovate Quality Awards

Synovate’s Competitive Customer Satisfaction (CCSI) research is the largest survey of its kind in the South African market. More than 55 000 vehicle owners are interviewed each year and the survey has been extensively used by the manufacturers for more than thirteen years as the benchmark of vehicle quality.

This year Volvo managed an impressive second place in the ‘Best Luxury Car Brand Overall’ category. Volvo is a relatively small manufacturer, when compared to the likes of Mercedes-Benz (first place) and BMW (tied second place), so this really is a result that we can brag about.

According to Roger Gibbs, Automotive Sector Head at Synovate, “The nature of the vehicles in this category make it an extremely competitive segment. Customers who purchase from this category have high expectations and manufacturers work extremely hard to get the problem count in this segment as low as possible.”

And Volvo is proud that all the hard work paid off. To walk away with second place in the ‘Best Luxury Car Brand Overall’ category is a fantastic achievement for us.