Anders Gustafsson, CEO of Volvo Car USA, told dealers at the NADA Show to "take a breath" over the subscription service that has sparked controversy between the automaker and its retailers.
The company's North American leader opened the make meeting with the message that Volvo isn't backing away from its commitments to dealers.
On Jan. 15, the California New Car Dealers Association filed a petition with California's New Motor Vehicle Board to halt the Care By Volvo subscription program. The association, which represents 23 Volvo dealers in the automaker's biggest U.S. market, says Care By Volvo violates state law meant to prohibit manufacturers from competing with their franchisees.
A launch date for a second-generation version of Volvo's subscription program has yet to be determined. Matthew Haiken, chairman of the Volvo Retail Advisory Board, said dealers have time to talk through the program with Volvo to make sure it's sustainable for their businesses.
"He's not nervous about lawyers — he's nervous about hurting the relationship with the dealers," Haiken said of Gustafsson.
Haiken, general manager of Prestige Volvo in East Hanover, N.J., one of the largest Volvo retailers in the U.S., said Gustafsson "started off the meeting saying, 'We will deliver what we promised.'
"Going into subscription, it's so important that Volvo Cars doesn't copy what everyone else does," Haiken said. "We need to stick out, and we need to be different and we need to do it together."
The updated version of Care by Volvo was recently reviewed by the Volvo Retail Advisory Board, and the feedback was positive, Volvo said in a December statement to Automotive News.
Volvo dealers are also concerned about Chinese parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group's electric performance brand Polestar, a subscription-only model.