Volvo brings its XC40 to the Brussels Show…and meets avid buyers.

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On the introduction of the XC40 at the Brussels Show, Managing Director of Volvo Belux, Wim Maes, commented on future plans and commercial results…

In November last year, the production of Volvo Cars’ first ever small premium SUV started off at the Volvo Cars plant in Ghent. The car is meeting great interest, and indeed orders are streaming in by the thousands already.

With the XC40, Volvo completes its SUV line-up, and gets a firm foothold in the fastest growing segment of the automotive industry. Together with the XC60 and de XC90, Volvo has a strong set of cards indeed in this segment…

We saw the XC40 for the first time “in the flesh” here, and indeed it looks pleasing and well balanced.

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At the presentation of the XC40, managing director of Volvo Belux, Mr. Wim Maes, commented on the car and the commercial results and perspectives of Volvo both globally and for the Belgian market, together with the Managing Director of the Ghent plant, Eric Van Landeghem.

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Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The XC40 rolls on a brand new platform…made in an updated plant

The new XC40 is the first model on Volvo Cars’ new modular small car platform, the so-called Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which will underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 series. The CMA platform is co-developed with Geely, and generates the so much needed synergies and economies of scale for the small premium car segment. The partnership with Geely puts Volvo also in a very good position when it comes to electrification of its range, amongst others…

During the course of the year, Volvo Cars also deepened its partnership with Geely Holding via the creation of a joint venture technology company to provide the economies of scale that will allow them to more rapidly develop next generation electrified vehicle technology. Volvo also and announced it would take a 30 per cent stake in Geely’s new LYNK & CO car brand, based on the two entities’ joint Compact Modular Architecture.

As everybody knows, Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010.

Pre-production of the new Volvo XC40 in the manufacturing plant in Ghent
Pre-production of the new Volvo XC40 in the manufacturing plant in Ghent

To accommodate for the production of the new XC40, A total of 363 new robots have been installed, including one which has been nicknamed “the Beast” by Ghent employees. This large robot, unique within Volvo Cars’ global manufacturing system, is used to lift lower car bodies to a conveyor belt close to the ceiling of the plant.

Good global results…

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, reports record sales in 2017, as global sales rose 7.0 per cent compared to 2016 to 571,577 cars, driven by growth in all regions.

Sales of the new XC60 and the 90-series cars were the main drivers, highlighting the effect of Volvo Cars’ in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture, a modular vehicle architecture, in terms of design, technology and brand.

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In the Asia Pacific region, sales grew by a strong 20.9 per cent on the back of a record performance in China, Volvo’s largest market, where sales increased 25.8 per cent compared with 2016. Meanwhile sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region grew by 3.3 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the Americas region grew by 0.7 per cent.

2017 was an important year for Volvo Cars in many ways. The new XC60, which replaced the company’s best-selling model and the best-selling mid-sized SUV in Europe, premiered at the Geneva Auto Show in March.

Volvo Cars also announced that it would place electrification at the core of its future business and stated that every car it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine.

In a further commitment to electrification, Volvo also launched Polestar, a new stand-alone electrified car brand fully consolidated within the Volvo Car Group.

September saw the introduction of the XC40, Volvo’s first offering in the fast growing small SUV segment. Volvo also invented a new model of car access with its ‘Care by Volvo’ subscription service, making having a car as transparent, easy and hassle free as having a phone. A new concept, introduced with the new XC40.

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Volvo Cars continued construction on a new manufacturing plant in South Carolina, its first in the United States, and it was announced that the plant would, in addition to the upcoming S60 mid-sized sedan, build the next generation XC90 from 2021. This takes Volvo Cars’ total investment in its US manufacturing operations to over USD 1.1 billion and will raise the total of new jobs created at the Charleston site to nearly 4,000.

Late in the year, Volvo Cars opened up an entirely new market as it signed a framework agreement with Uber to sell tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base cars to the ride-hailing company between 2019 and 2021. Just look at our report on our site last month.

Market successes also in Belgium…

On the Belgian market, Volvo scores too. Not less than 18.024 cars were registered in 2017, making Belgium actually Volvo’s 6th most important market. Market share was 3,3 % over the year, but increased to 3,92 % in the fourth quarter. With its new XC40, order books are already 1400 units larger compared to last year…

Eric Van Landeghem also commented on the Ghent plant, having made annually more than 200.000 cars now 8 years in a row. With the XC40, it now enters again in a new era…

Hans Knol ten Bensel