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Volvo revs up its presence in China

By Hao Yan | | Updated: 2018-02-09 19:10

Geely-owned Volvo Car Group is expecting a significant jump in Chinese sales this year on the back of its strong momentum gained in 2017.

Volvo announced on Thursday that a total of 571,577 vehicles were delivered last year, a 7 percent rise on 2016. However, in the Chinese market, sales rose 25.8 percent to 114,410 units.

"The Chinese market has made significant contribution to the group. Last year, about 20 percent of the company's overall volume came from China," said Hakan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Car Group, in a telephone interview.

"We have manufactured higher numbers of car in China than we sold in China last year, the extra amount has been exported to Europe and the United States markets. China has become our base for exports," he added.

Volvo Cars started exporting the all-new Volvo S90 Luxury Sedan, manufactured in Northeast China's Daqing plant to Belgium and the United States from May 2017.

The China-made Volvo began shipping on the international market in 2015, predominantly to the US.

Samuelsson said that sales growth in the Chinese market last year bodes well for an even stronger 2018.

Volvo Cars' China sales surged to 11,537 units in January, up 38 percent on the same period last year and much faster than the company's overall global growth rate. Samuelsson said this was boosted by local production and sales of the new Volvo XC60 mid-size sport utility vehicle.

Chinese customers are about to embrace a hybrid version of the Volvo S90, the company's top sedan model, in 2018, and to witness the launch of the model's fully electric version soon after.

Volvo Cars unveiled a global electrification strategy last year to offer electrified power train options on all its models in the near future.

The company's stand-alone high-performance electrified brand, Polestar, will also start manufacturing in China, with its production base set to be completed by the middle of this year in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.

The Polestar 1 coupe will be rolled off the line in mid-2019, and the group's first-ever full-electric car, Polestar 2, will also be put into production by the end of 2019.

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