Volvo Eyes Closer Cooperation With Sister Chinese Brands at Geely


  • 2013 Volvo V60 Picture

    2013 Volvo V60 Picture

    Volvo has high hopes for its 2013 Volvo V60 plug-in diesel hybrid — and plans for closer cooperation with its sister Geely brands. | December 21, 2012

Just the Facts:
  • Volvo is discussing technology tie-ups with its sister Geely brands, company insiders told Edmunds.
  • Volvo is one of several auto brands owned by the Chinese manufacturer, which operates the Englon, Emgrand and Gleagle brands in its domestic market.
  • The Chinese brands are well behind Volvo in terms of sophistication, but eventually there could be sufficient technological alignment to allow for a sharing of components and platforms.

LONDON — Volvo is discussing technology tie-ups with its sister Geely brands, company insiders told Edmunds.

Volvo is one of several auto brands owned by the Chinese manufacturer, which operates the Englon, Emgrand and Gleagle brands in its domestic market.

The Chinese brands are well behind Volvo in terms of sophistication, but eventually there could be sufficient technological alignment to allow for a sharing of components and platforms. The setup could potentially provide the Swedish maker with scale economies that will better allow it to compete.

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson is also looking to boost the company's disappointing Chinese sales to counter shrinking opportunities in Europe.

Samuelsson says the company aims to reverse a 9 percent decline in Chinese sales with improved staff training, more dealerships and more effective communication of the Volvo safety message. This mission is doubly important with a brand-new Chinese Volvo factory coming on stream in Chengdu in 2013.

Like many European makers, Volvo has cut back production and staff, and is looking to the arrival of a new in-house platform family that will eventually yield replacements for all its models apart from the small V40 hatchback. The first of these will be the long-awaited replacement for the successful Volvo XC90 SUV, which is due in 2014.

Before that, there will be 2013 face-lifts for the Volvo S60 sedan, the wagon-based Volvo XC70 all-wheel-drive crossover and the aging Volvo S80 sedan, along with the arrival of the company's new in-house-developed 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine family, which will be paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

In the immediate future, Volvo has high hopes for its new hybrid V60, which is one of the first plug-in diesel hybrids in the world, although this innovative car is not U.S.-bound.

Volvo's global sales are expected to fall to 380,000 in 2012 from a peak of 458,000 in 2007. Longer term, it aims to return to annual sales of around 450,000 cars, which Samuelsson believes is a big enough number to enable it to compete profitably, despite rival makers such as Audi and BMW achieving around three times that volume.

Edmunds says: Deeper technical tie-ups with Chinese owner Geely could prove as crucial to Volvo's long-term survival as its new platform family.

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