Fleet News

Volvo in bid to boost Euro corporate sales

VOLVO is investigating new opportunities in European corporate sales following its acquisition by Ford.

Speaking to Fleet News Europe in Geneva, Wolff Huber, president of Volvo Cars Market Area Europe, said the Swedish car maker would increasingly work in partnership with Ford to supply European fleets. 'We are making joint programmes where our cars are mostly complementary to Ford cars,' he said.

'We are looking at a future of more corporate sales in Europe and of making use of the synergies between the two companies.'

The Ford-Volvo co-operation will extend to financial services, where Huber is eager for Volvo's finance operation to have the leverage of a Ford finance company, including its product development.

He believes manufacturers are gradually creating common vehicle specification and aftersales packages across Europe, paving the way for multinational companies to establish common fleet policies. 'We have to harmonise the total offer, and product by product we are doing that,' said Huber.

Significantly, Huber believes the harmonisation in specification and service packages will be upwards towards the highest value package, despite the fierce pressure on official list prices in a European market where supply outstrips demand.

He added that Germany and the UK had followed US consumers' desire for highly-equipped, premium cars, and that similar developments were now happening across Europe. And he suggested that more common vehicle offerings would boost international fleet agreements.

'We do see enquiries for global arrangements, but the difficulty is that as products and prices are not harmonised, most companies will only sign a framework agreement, not an absolute global agreement,' said Huber.

Volvo plans to sell 300,000 cars in Europe by 2004, building on the foundations of 255,000 sales in 1999, with new products set to play a key role. Huber declined, however, to confirm whether the manufacturer would produce a car to rival the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. (April 2000)

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