Volvo's ambitious plan to pivot to a digital-only sales model could stall in the U.S. as some retailers balk at what they see as a factory assault on the franchised dealer model.
The Swedish automaker this month announced plans to become an all-electric brand globally by 2030. To sell those vehicles, Volvo wants to use an online-only, factory-set price sales model — borrowing aspects of a strategy pioneered by Tesla that has become a template for a wave of electric upstarts.
But dealer associations in two states — Virginia and California — have sent letters to Volvo warning it that the strategy might violate the automaker's dealer agreements or state laws meant to prevent automakers from competing with their franchises. The Texas dealer association is now seeking clarification from Volvo on the plan.