What would make you buy a Volvo? asks new boss
15 December 2006
Author: Tristan Young
Volvo's new UK boss Stuart Kerr is looking to shake-up the public perception of the Swedish brand in a bid to turn around the firm's flagging sales.
Kerr admitted that, as yet, he did not have a plan to change the company's fortunes. He said: "I've been here six weeks and six weeks is long enough to know there's something wrong. Not with the cars - it's a problem with the perception of the product.
"We've got a problem - the Volvo brand needs to change."
Volvo's corporate sales are running down 22.7% for January to November, sitting at 16,439. Total sales for the brand are also down 19.8% for the year-to-date at 28,724.
Kerr said he was currently looking for solutions to the problem as to why buyers didn't hold Volvo in the same high regard as Audi and BMW.
Kerr, who has worked for Volvo in countries as far afield as South Africa and Russia, believes the brand problem is unique to the UK. He is considering some radical ideas to make Volvos more desirable.
"There have been suggestions we go to someone like Tom Walkinshaw [performance engineering specialist] and do the ultimate performance Volvo. We've got the engines, they can take the power. And there's enough kit in our circle of companies to help too," said Kerr.
The new Volvo boss also hinted he was also looking at introducing some more humorous advertising strategies.
Commenting specifically on the corporate market Kerr said: "If you can get a buyer into a Volvo there's a damn good chance of them buying it - greater than one in four, and it's skewed in favour of fleet.
"We have 20 business dealers who have a wider range of cars for the corporate market. It's expensive, but there's a package that enables them to do that job better."