With Volvo’s Comeback Complete, What’s Next?

Well, they did it.

Written off as a doomed automaker when Ford unloaded it to Geely Automotive in 2010, Volvo has defied the odds and roared back to life while keeping its Swedish charm under Chinese ownership.

That wasn’t supposed to happen.

While execs at Volvo remained confident through the transition that they’d bring the company back to life, we have to take a moment and point out that Saab’s executives once thought the same thing.

Sinking automakers rarely can find the cash—or the buyers—to become relevant again and—like Saab—tend to disappear into the night.

Ask anyone who’s driven a new XC90, though, if Volvo shows any signs of disappearing.

Automotive News said,

Volvo is now a success by any measure. Global sales last year stood at 534,127, almost exactly 200,000 units more that it sold in 2009. The figures make Volvo’s ambitious statement made back in 2011 to grow sales to 800,000 by 2020 look modest.

The cash is pouring in. In 2016 Volvo’s operating profit rose 66 percent to 11 billion Swedish crowns ($1.25 billion) on revenue of $20.2 billion, giving it an operating margin of 6.1 percent. It has cash reserves of $4.3 billion, up from $2.9 million in 2015.

The new XC90 has received rave reviews, including a stellar write-up right here on CarGurus. Same goes for the gorgeous new S90 sedan.

While Volvo seems to have the upmarket sedans and SUVs covered, it hasn’t found a lot of success in the subcompact segment. Then again, it hasn’t spent a lot of time pursuing the market for smaller vehicles.

Speaking to Car & Driver about Volvo’s naming strategy, the company’s U.S. CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, mentioned that the 40-series won’t be the smallest vehicles Volvo builds. He said,

It’s pretty straightforward: The 90 is the biggest, and the 40 is the smallest. And when there is a 20, it will be a smaller one.

It doesn’t sound like a 20-series is on the horizon anytime soon, but it’s worth noting that this is the first time a subcompact Volvo has been mentioned. Since Volvo doesn’t build cars for specific markets, it’s a pretty safe bet that the U.S. would see whatever vehicles become part of the range. If that includes an XC20 crossover, V20 wagon, or an S20 sedan, we can be pretty confident the automaker would sell at least a few copies here.

How likely are you to consider a Volvo next time you’re shopping for a new car?

-tgriffith

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Used Volvo XC90
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