NEW YORK -- Volvo Cars has put its global creative account into review.
Volvo, which is controlled by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said it is seeking a global agency that can "focus and strengthen the brand communication worldwide." The incumbent creative shop, Arnold Worldwide, has been invited to defend the business.
The review does not affect Arnold's U.S. account, Volvo said.
A winner will be selected by this fall.
"We are in a time of transformation and we have a very interesting journey ahead of us, further enhancing brand perception through innovation, a new model program and an improved customer interaction," Alain Visser, senior vice president of sales and customer service, said in a statement. "It is therefore a good time to review our future needs in order to sharpen Volvo Cars' brand communication."
Volvo last restructured its agency relationships in December 2011, when it bucked the auto industry trend of using a team agency approach. The company dismantled its "Team Volvo" structure that was an alliance of three agencies: Arnold Worldwide, SapientNitro and what was then called EuroRSCG 4D.
Its budget is small compared with those of automakers such as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors. Volvo spent about $80 million on U.S. advertising in 2012, according to Kantar Media.
Volvo, which changed hands from Ford to Geely in August 2010, has been experiencing a sales slide. It reported a 6 percent global sales drop in 2012.
After posting a 1 percent increase to 68,117 vehicles sold in the United States in 2012, Volvo's year-to-date U.S. sales were down 6 percent to 25,900 through May, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Volvo's best U.S. sales year was 2004, when it sold 139,000 vehicles.
Several automakers are searching for new creative shops. General Motors is expected to pick a winner this month to handle Cadillac's $250 million creative account.
Porsche recently decided to stay with incumbent Cramer-Krasselt after a review for its $20 million business.