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Volvo Appoints New US Chief to Turn Car Sales Around

Jan. 21, 2015
Despite generally booming car sales in the United States, sales of Volvo cars in the country dropped by 8% to 58,000 in 2014.

STOCKHOLM – Swedish car manufacturer Volvo Cars announced the appointment Wednesday of a new chief executive for North America tasked with reviving the company's flagging U.S. sales.

Despite generally booming car sales in the United States -- helped by falling fuel prices -- sales of Volvo cars in the country dropped by 8% to 58,000 in 2014.

Lex Kerssemakers, a Dutch national with 16 years experience in the company, currently responsible for product strategy, will oversee the company's "U.S. Revival Plan" which targets annual sales of "over 100,000 cars in the medium term," the company said in a statement.

To do so, Volvo plans "a renewal of the entire product range by the end of 2017," it said.

Volvo is not only in the U.S. to stay, it is in the U.S. to prosper. - Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo

"The U.S. is a key market for the development of the group and today we get back onto the front foot. Volvo is not only in the U.S. to stay, it is in the U.S. to prosper," Kerssemakers added. 

He will also be responsible for opening up "the full potential of the Canadian and Latin American markets".

Volvo increased its sales by 9% last year to 465,866 cars worldwide on the back of soaring sales in China and strong European sales.

The iconic Swedish brand was sold by the US car maker Ford to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2010. 

It has no manufacturing in the Americas and exports cars from its factories in Sweden, Belgium, and soon from China where it has three plants.

Kerssemakers replaces Volvo's interim U.S. chief executive Tony Nicolosi, appointed in 2013 to replace another American national who held the post for just over two years.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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