Volvo in trouble, too?
Yup. With the sale of Aston Martin long done, and the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover rumored to be a done deal, but for the various details, now come reports that Volvo is in trouble.
Sales of Volvos in the North American market haven’t just sagged. They’ve slumped. Down an average of 10 to 15 percent this year, after declines in each of the past two years.
So, Volvo is going to dump dealers. Dealers will be asked to “voluntarily” give up the ghost, but they’re a plan in place, according to insiders, to euthanize the laggards if they don’t commit franchise suicide.
But there’s more to the plan.
Just after the new CAFE standards passed Congress with Ford’s corporate support, does it seem remarkable that part of the plan for Volvo is to emphasize its BIG cars, and deemphasize the smaller ones, ushc as the S40, V50, and S60. All of which leaves questions about the future of the new hatch Volvo, the C30.
What’s the problem?
Well, the problem is, of course, Ford. According to Automotive News, which broke the story, Ford thinks Volvo is a “luxury brand,” and has been pitching it as such. But no one else thinks of Volvo as a luxury brand, and the notion is inconsistent with the image of the product that evolved over all those years of building square, safe sedans.
What’s missing in all of this, of course, is an actual product strategy for selling more cars. Rather, the plan is to sell fewer cars, through fewer dealers, and then claim success when the support system has shrunk in size to that of the vehicle sales.
Of course, those approaches generally never catch up to the continuing decline in sales, because that’s not a strategy for winning. It is calculating how to lose less.
Apparently, the management mentality at Ford hasn’t changed much.