Volvo Car Group to shift focus from auto shows, to raise direct sales

15 Dec 2014


Volvo Car Group plans to shift focus from auto shows, where carmakers vied for eyeballs in an atmosphere of glamour and glitz, to market more cars directly to buyers instead, Bloomberg reported.

Starting next year, Volvo Cars would participate in only one motor show per region - Geneva in Europe, Shanghai or Beijing in China and Detroit in the US, the Gothenburg, according to the Sweden-based company.

The carmaker still planned to raise its marketing budget by increasing spending on e-commerce, dealerships and an annual event to promote its models.

According to Alain Visser, who headed marketing and sales, the company had been doing what was expected in the car industry so far, and it would do things that were unexpected. He added Volvo needed to ''stand out and challenge things,'' just as its products would, he added.

Volvo's decision to leave some key auto shows, including Frankfurt and Paris, was in contrast to its German competitors BMW, Audi and Daimler AG's Mercedes.

Meanwhile, Volvo Car Corp said it would start selling vehicles online as it rolled out new models to compete with German luxury rivals such as BMW, Reuters reported.

The Swedish carmaker, controlled by China's Geely, would gradually open up web sales and spend more on digital advertising, it said under its changed marketing strategy today.

Visser said in an interview that the plan was to have all its car lines in all its markets offered digitally.

Apart from Tesla, few manufacturers had tried selling directly online. Tesla's, electric car sales had eliminated traditional dealerships, leading to conflict and effective exclusion from parts of the US.

Volvo had however, assured its 2,000 global dealerships, half of which were in Europe, that it had no such plans.

According to Visser dealers got nervous if one referred to e-commerce.

He added, Volvo did not see a car distribution network without dealers in the foreseeable future. He added that vehicles sold online "will still pass through the dealer network" for delivery.

Volvo raised its 2014 sales goal in August with the launch of a revamped XC90 crossover, the first vehicle developed under Zhejiang Geely Holding Group ownership.

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