Fifty years of success for Volvo Cars International Customers
Collecting a new car directly from Swedish carmaker Volvo is a way of buying a Volvo that has proved popular among customers such as diplomats and tourists. And this year, Volvo Cars sales company VCIC celebrates 50 years of successful business in the area.
It all began when certain people at Volvo became aware of the ‘love affair’ between American diplomats, military personnel and tourists and Scandinavia. Göteborg was home to an unknown carmaker and the company’s attractive P120 (Amazon) model was proving a popular Swedish ‘souvenir’ among foreign visitors.
The year was 1956 and Volvo was the first among its competitors to discover that it could sell cars profitably to international customers.
However, the company first had to solve the relevant customs clearance, tax and registration issues:
“The cars had to driven to Norway or Denmark for registration, then back to Sweden for shipment,” recalls Torben Eckardt, CEO of the VCIC (Volvo Cars International Customers) sales company.
Since then, the business has expanded at an increasing rate, with sales growing by 5-10 percent annually in recent years.
While diplomats form the main customer group, others who succumb to the attraction of buying cars – many fitted with extras –¬ under somewhat more favourable conditions include military personnel, tourists and foreign employees. For example, the deal includes return travel to Göteborg, a visit to the plant and a visit to the Volvo Museum.
The Volvo XC90, an SUV that was launched in 2002, is the model that has had perhaps the greatest impact on sales. However, Torben Eckardt believes that the new flagship Volvo S80 and the compact C30 (which is to be launched in September) will generate even more traffic to the VCIC offices adjoining the Torslanda plant in Göteborg:
“We have completed 50 years – and we are hoping that the next 50 will be equally successful,” says Torben Eckardt.
VCIC supplied about 7,200 cars in 2005. Of these, 2,450 were delivered in Göteborg and the remainder throughout the world.