Volvo had its strongest U.S. sales performance in 14 years last year, and it isn't letting off the accelerator, the company told its retailers at the NADA make meeting Thursday.
The brand expects retail sales to increase 10 to 20 percent this year, Volvo Car USA CEO Anders Gustafsson told dealers.
The dealers "have done a great job to secure our growth in the pandemic," Gustafsson told Automotive News after the meeting.
Volvo chalked up a record year for dealer profitability in 2020. Return on sales was 2.6 percent for the year, compared with 1.8 percent in 2019, according to a dealer in the virtual meeting.
But retailers are not resting on their laurels, Volvo Retail Advisory Board Chairman Ernie Norcross said.
"We are not where we want to be," Norcross said. "There's a lot of opportunity for growth for the dealer network, both in throughput and profitability."
Gustafsson said he is confident Volvo will be able to maintain its growth trajectory. To achieve that, it will lean in on its fast-selling XC utility vehicle lineup and a pair of new electric models due this year.
The automaker will launch its first battery-powered model, the XC40 Recharge P8, this year. And toward the end of 2021, Volvo will introduce a battery-powered coupelike crossover.
As Volvo expands into electrification, the brand is focusing on retailer training.
"We need to educate technicians because our engines and cars are getting more advanced," Gustafsson said. "Also, we need to educate our sales consultants because the business model is getting more and more advanced."
But he acknowledged that Volvo's retail growth plans could be affected by external factors, such as the global semiconductor chip shortage.
"Semiconductors are an issue, and we monitor it 24/7," Gustafsson told Automotive News, echoing what he told retailers. Volvo does not expect U.S. supply to be significantly affected in the short term, he said, noting Volvo has nine ships headed to the U.S.
If the chip shortage drags on, Volvo will focus on utility vehicle production.
"If we can prioritize what we should build, of course, it should go in line with the higher-demand cars," Gustafsson said.