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Old 12-05-2006, 05:35   #1 (permalink)
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US:Volvo hoping new models will end sales skid

Volvo hoping new models will end sales skid


The Volvo S80

By MARK RECHTIN | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
AutoWeek

LOS ANGELES -- Volvo's two-year sales skid should end in 2007 when four new or redesigned products arrive. But because three of the vehicles arrive late in the year, the Swedish automaker does not expect much of a volume increase.

The new models arriving are the S80 flagship sedan, C30 hatchback, V70 wagon and XC70 wagon. Also coming is a V-8 Sport variant of the XC90.

Through October, Volvo U.S. sales are down 7.9 percent. The automaker expects 2006 sales to finish between 115,000 and 120,000 units. Sales in 2005 were off 11.1 percent from a record 139,067 units in 2004. For 2007, Volvo should sell slightly more than 120,000 units, said Anne Belec, president of Volvo Cars North America.

The unit of Ford Motor Co. expects to sell about 445,000 units globally this year but has a goal of 600,000 by the end of the decade. Much of that growth will come from European sales of the C30, as well as emerging markets such as China, Russia and South Africa. But U.S. sales should see a respectable increase, Belec said in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Because the V70 and XC70 redesigns come late in the year, much of 2007 will be spent controlling the sell-off of the outgoing models, Belec said.

The one sales surprise this year has been the aging S60 sedan, up 2.6 percent. The reason: aggressive regional advertising and lease deals, Belec said.

Volvo will be more consistent in advertising all its models and get away from its past "launch and abandon" tactics. That means aging products also will get marketing support, she said.

Said Belec: "We will deliberately have fewer peaks and valleys in our advertising spend. It results in better consideration and shopping patterns."
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