Volvo sees more growth potential in Germany

Germany sales boss Bauer puts his money on the fleet business and the expansion of the dealer network

Cologne, Germany. Volvo plans to expand its German dealer network by 30 dealers this year.

"We still have some gaps to fill in more rural regions," said Bernhard Bauer, Volvo Germany's head of sales.

Volvo Germany has contracts with 180 dealers and more than 330 sales outlets.

"We want to cover more areas to provide our customers with an appropriate service," Bauer said. That is why more stores will be opened next year.

He thinks there is still significant growth potential for company cars.

"We are currently less present in company fleets than other brands," Bauer said. Only 20 percent of Volvo's business is in the fleet market.

The V50 wagon, which has been available in Germany since April 17, should bring growth.

Since the vehicle's launch, 525 have been sold, and there are 4,080 orders in the pipeline. Volvo Germany hopes to sell 10,000 units of the V50 in 2004.

The wagon and the S40 sedan will be available in a bi-fuel version (gasoline and natural gas) starting in late 2005.

A hybrid version also is planned. "We will make use of the resources at Ford for the hybrid," said Bauer. Ford Motor Co. owns Volvo.

Volvo Germany's 2003 sales of 31,500 cars were 25.3 percent below the previous year's results.

Bauer's goal is 40,000 sales in Germany. That would mean 27 percent growth.

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