LOS ANGELES -- A combination of an old lineup, fewer engine choices, an unfavorable currency exchange rate and decreased fleet sales has chopped Volvo's U.S. sales by 20 percent in the past six months.
But Anne Belec, CEO of Volvo Cars North America, sees solutions ahead.
Three new or redesigned vehicle lines will go on sale by spring 2007. A new inline-six engine will arrive for the 2007 model year. The dollar has strengthened against the euro and Swedish kroner, making U.S. sales more profitable for the parent company.
"Our future isn't three years from now; it's soon," Belec said in an interview last week.
Belec acknowledged that she arrived at Volvo a year ago just as it was heading for a trough. Volvo had just come off a record 2004, but its product lineup was aging badly. Its one new product -- a V-8 version of the XC90 -- arrived just in time for soaring gasoline prices.
"It was a question of emphasis, if we wanted to hold market share at a loss," the 43-year-old Belec said. "The volume drop was not unexpected. We were not that far off our plan."
Belec came from Ford Motor Co., where she had worked her way up the marketing staff ladder.
From September 2005 through February 2006, Volvo sold 52,582 units, down from 65,787 units in the comparable period the year before.