Volvo to go all-EV, sell online only

Volvo Cars aims to be a fully electric car company by 2030, with all of its models only available online.

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Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars, said electrification is key to the company’s sustainability and together with investments in charging infrastructure “that is the right way to go and is the course we have chosen at Volvo”.

“We are well underway. Already last year, one car out of three we sold in Europe was the recharge model that is chargeable like in hybrid,” he said in a virtual presentation on Volvo’s future strategy and to launch the Volvo C40 Recharge, the automaker’s second all-electric car.

But Samuelsson said that by 2025, half of the cars built by Volvo Cars will be pure electric vehicles and by 2030 all its cars will be pure electric vehicles. Volvo’s pure electric vehicle strategy is in line with its commitment to a zero-emission future.

Volvo Cars’ chief technology officer, Henrik Green, stressed there is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine.

“We are firmly committed to becoming an electric-only carmaker, and the transition should happen by 2030. It will allow us to meet the expectations of our customers and be a part of the solution when it comes to fighting climate change,” he said.

However, Samuelsson said the future customer offer cannot consist of just an electric car, stressing that Volvo Cars also needs to listen to its customers, who expect transparency and a seamless experience in getting and having a car.

“That is why all pure electric cars from Volvo will be available only online at pre-set prices. You can subscribe or buy - and they will come with a special customer care package. This is how we will bring our consumer offering to the market in the future and it also manifests our purpose as a company, which is to provide people with the freedom to move in a personal, sustainable and safe way,” he said

That is why all pure electric cars from Volvo will be available only online at pre-set prices

The transition to only online sales poses a potential threat to the sustainability of the traditional dealership network of vehicle manufacturers.

However, Samuelsson said while Volvo Cars is investing heavily in online sales platforms, it will build stronger customer relationships together with its retail partners.

Volvo XC40 Recharge
The all-electric Volvo XC40 Recharge will be launched in South Africa this year.

“They remain a crucial part of the customer experience and will continue to be responsible for a variety of important services such as selling, preparing, delivering and servicing cars,” he said.

Volvo Cars’ head of global commercial operations, Lex Kerssemakers, said there are two trends where Volvo will play a leading role: electric cars and in offering these cars online only.

“Everything is changing but what in the end prevails is convenience - and that is where online enters the automotive world,” he said. Simple, intuitive but transparent pricing, easy to order attractive cars built according to personal taste or a preconfigured car with a quick delivery.

Kerssemakers said electric is where the growth is for the premium part of the car market.

He said the world is changing, customer expectations are changing, mobility needs are changing and the way people buy and lease cars is changing.

“Everything is changing but what in the end prevails is convenience - and that is where online enters the automotive world,” he said. Simple, intuitive but transparent pricing, easy-to-order attractive cars built according to personal taste or a preconfigured car with a quick delivery.

“This online experience will be working seamlessly in parallel with our retail partners all over the world,” he said.

Kerssemakers said they are planning to provide customers with a flawless online-offline experience, with customers selecting to place the order online “at Volvocars.com from their sofa, at a dealership, at a pop-up store or at a Volvo store”.

“So the entire experience of having a Volvo will become easier and more convenient as convenience is key,” he said.

Volvo Cars South Africa has confirmed it will be the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric, Volvo's first all-electric vehicle, into the South African market this year.

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