Tony Nicolosi has been named president of Volvo Cars Financial Services of the Americas, 16 months after he became CEO of Volvo Cars of North America.
The move is part of a management shakeup at the struggling brand, which also includes global corporate product strategy chief Lex Kerssemakers being named to the post of CEO for North America.
Nicolosi is returning to Volvo Financial, but with broader responsibilities. Before becoming CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, initially in an acting capacity at the age of 53 in October 2013, he was head of Volvo Car Financial Services U.S.
Kerssemakers, 55, gets broader authority than Nicolosi had. In addition to being CEO of Volvo Cars North America, Kerssemakers will be senior vice president for the Americas, with responsibility for North and South America, Volvo said in a statement today.
The changes, which take effect immediately, come as Volvo prepares for the critical April launch of the XC90 large crossover -- the vehicle the brand is counting on to revive its U.S. sales. In 2014, Volvo U.S. sales declined by 8 percent to 56,366 units following a 10 percent drop the previous year.
An all-wheel-drive-only V60 Cross Country also arrives this spring.
With its aging lineup, Volvo has struggled to re-establish itself as a premium player in the U.S. It plans to replace its product range by cars and crossovers powered by new four-cylinder engines and plug-in electrics.
Kerssemakers has been a member of Volvo’s global management team. He will remain on that team and will report to CEO Hakan Samuelsson. Nicolosi had reported to Alain Visser, Volvo's senior vice president for marketing, sales and customer service.
Samuelsson said that Kerssemaker’s broader position is needed to guide Volvo’s revival.
“The scale of our ambition in the Americas region meant we needed a member of our executive management team with the drive, determination and motivation to make it happen,” he said in the statement. “His appointment underlines our commitment to taking our rightful place as a successful and growing premium carmaker in the Americas.”
Kerssemakers will implement a strategy that includes increased marketing as well as a complete renewal of the product lineup by the end of 2017, the company said. Volvo said it seeks to return to 100,000 U.S. sales “in the medium term.” No date was given for the “medium term.”
“I am looking forward to this challenge,” Kerssemakers said in the statement. “The U.S. is a key market for the development of the group. And today we get back on the front foot.
“Volvo is not only in the U.S. to stay, it’s in the U.S. to prosper.”
Kerssemakers, a native of the Netherlands, became Volvo’s head of product strategy and vehicle line management on Jan. 1, 2011. He has more than 25 years’ experience at Volvo.