Volvo dealers had too many of the brand's older models and not enough of the redesigned XC90 crossover toward the end of last year, but the mix has improved, says the head of the Volvo Retail Advisory Board.
"Inventory levels have been high in our legacy cars -- that has been a concern. On the other end, we were a little too light on the XC products," said Steve Hinkle, owner of Volvo Cars San Diego.
"Volvo has made an effort to get them in line."
Hinkle, who will finish his term as head of the dealer advisory board in June, also said with new products coming, dealers are better poised to make investments in their facilities.
Volvo can grow substantially with a three-crossover range that will include the all-new compact XC40 this year, Hinkle said. The best example of this strategy is Subaru, a franchise Hinkle owns with his father. Subaru has proven a brand "can generate their business on three models."
"You could argue when we have our XC60 and XC40 and our large platform XC90 we have an adequate stable of cars to sell 100,000 cars in the United States."
On the other hand, dealers are concerned about the creation of the new brand Lynk & CO by Chinese parent company Geely.
Lynk & CO, which will launch a cheaper crossover on the same platform as the XC40, may go around the dealer franchise system in the United States and sell its new products on the Internet. But Lynk might ask Volvo dealers to service those models.
"The actuality is we are opposed. We continue to believe that the franchise system is the best method for a manufacturer to offer their products and services to the consumer," said Hinkle. "For over 100 years, franchised dealers have done an extraordinary job representing the interests of the manufacturer and the consumer, and we continue to add significant value to the process."
Hinkle also warned that Lynk & CO can't just ask Volvo dealers to service its cars, saying, "There will be resistance."
"You cannot have it both ways if you bring a new brand."