John Wallace, corporate sales and leasing manager, reveals that rivals have traditionally been cheaper than Volvo in the new car heartland of ‘SE’ trim.
This is because the Swedish brand included leather, a high end stereo and other expensive options as standard. Rival makers do not do this.
‘Volvos thus appeared optically expensive,’ said Wallace. ‘People were ruling us out at the first point of consideration.’
A realignment in 2007 brought trim levels in line with rivals. This had the effect of lowering list prices for the key SE cars – which meant that they were now a more financially attractive on-paper proposition.
Dealers should not underestimate the importance of this. ‘Nomenclature is very important,’ says Wallace. ‘People want to drive SEs, rather than plain S models…’
SMMT sales figures have responded accordingly. The brand has posted a 30 per cent increase in volumes. This is in a sector where rivals have declined.
‘We are now the best value premium brand,’ claims Wallace.
By Richard Aucock