It’s a decade since Volvo was bought from Ford by Geely in March 2010, and Volvo look forward to another decade as transformational as the last.
If you’re a twenty-something car lover, you perhaps don’t remember a time when Volvo wasn’t cool or premium. But it’s not that long ago Volvo was far from that.
Yes, Volvos have long been loved by the chattering classes for moving stuff around (big, boxy estates) and, more recently, for transporting their broods in the best family-friendly SUV there was – the ‘old’ Volvo XC90 – but they were never really bought to impress others or because they were lovely to look at.
But Geely’s purchase of Volvo from Ford (officially on 28 March 2020, although we knew nearly a year before that) as Ford divested itself of its troublesome Premier Automotive Group – Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo – was the start of a turnaround not just in product from Volvo, but perception of the brand too.
Until Geely arrived to save Volvo from Ford’s apathy to the brand, they were perhaps best known in the West for plagiarising the Rolls-Royce Phantom, but they shrewdly let the Swedes get on with renewing the brand whilst delivering financial stability. Much as Tata did at JLR.
The first solid evidence of just how good Volvo would become was the arrival of the new Volvo XC90 in 2014 – still perhaps the most rounded and appealing model of its ilk – followed by new 90 Series cars, new 60 Series cars and the start of a renewal of the 40 Series too with the XC40. All terrific cars with not a failure in sight. All cool and all ‘premium’. Not ‘German’ premium, but individual, tasteful, minimalist Swedish premium and proper cool luxury.
Having spent a decade redefining, itself Volvo is now on a mission in the next decade to become a leader in electrification, autonomous drive and mobility, although that’s not going to be as impressive as going from Sweden’s Vauxhall where it is now, and ties between Volvo and Geely will be more obvious.
Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo boss, said:
Volvo Cars today is stronger than it has ever been. With Geely, we started a new successful phase that took us to a whole new level. We completely renewed our product portfolio, established a global presence, almost doubled our sales and went from break-even to profitable. Going forward, we will continue to grow our business together with Geely.