Volvo will hit the ground running in New Zealand next month as it prepares to unveil the new XC90, its flagship SUV that company design chief Anders Gunnarson has called the “absolute Volvo”.
The Swedish carmaker is already having a record year in NZ, passing 400 sales in the last week of November to notch up 80 per cent growth on 2013.
“The 400 registrations in a single year – and there’s still a month to go – has never been done before in this country”, said Volvo NZ general manager Stephen Kenchington (above).
The sales success comes in spite of Volvo having no new vehicles in its line-up. Kenchington set the 400 target late last year, backing updated 2013-year models, his marketing staff and dealer network to make it happen.
“All the dealers embraced the plan, invested in the brand’s future and delivered stellar results across all the model range,” he said.
NZ driver Scott McLaughlin’s success with the Volvo S60 in the V8 Supercar series also helped to lift the brand’s profile.
“This sales result provides a solid foundation on which to build further success next year with the arrival of the all-new XC90 and V60 Cross Country”, said Kenchington.
The XC60 and V40 range had accounted for almost seven out of every 10 sales at the end of last month. The XC60 has arguably the best interior design in the world of mid-sized SUVs, a feature that helped boost its numbers in NZ by 184% over 2013. And the V40 is still one of the safest cars tested by Europe’s NCAP programme.
The XC90 will go on show in NZ in the New Year when contestants in the global Volvo yacht race stop over before setting out on the next leg across the Pacific.
The seven-seat SUV is the ‘jewel’ in the Volvo crown and is based on the company’s SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, a project that Volvo’s Chinese owner, the Geely group, spent around $NZ13b to develop.
Designer Gunnarson told British reporters: “The XC90 represents what Volvo is exactly about – simplicity, trustworthiness, solidity, functionality and simplicity. It is the absolute Volvo.
“For us, the XC90 is the bolt that holds everything together. If you remove the bolt, everything falls apart. This car is a must and has to be a success – there is no going back, we cannot do it wrong.”