In March 2013, Volvo India will launch the V40 Cross Country crossover in the country. Price wise, the V40 Cross Country will take on the likes of the BMW X1, the Mercedes Benz B-Class and the Audi Q3, The crossover will be sold with turbo petrol and turbo diesel engines and is expected to sit alongside the D3 diesel engined S60 sedan in Volvo India’s product portfolio. Expect a starting price of about INR 25 lakhs for the Volvo V40 crossover and even with this attractive and competitive price tag, Volvo India has a modest sales target for 2013 from India, with a target of selling 1,100 cars.
Volvo India’s cautious optimism regarding its sales forecast for 2013 isn’t misplaced at all. The Geely owned Swedish car brand sold 821 cars in 2012 a huge 150% jump from the 320 cars it sold in 2011, and the target of 1,100 cars for 2013 represents a near 30% bump up in sales, most of which are expected to come form the V40 Crossover. While Volvo’s sales might be just a fraction of what luxury car makers like Audi and BMW sell in India, the Swedish brand is yet to become a force to reckon with in the Indian luxury car market given the relative obscurity of the brand when it comes to the buyers of luxury cars in the country.
Talk Volvo and most car buyers tend to associate the brand as a purveyor of luxury buses rather than luxury cars. So, the cautious optimism of Volvo regarding India has much to do with the relatively low brand value of Brand Volvo as much as it has to do with the general slowdown that the luxury car space in India is witnessing. Also, the number of dealerships and after sales centers that Volvo India has across India, is much smaller than the networks of the Teuton trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz, and even for that matter Jaguar-Land Rover.
So, Volvo India main focus in 2013 will be on strengthening its dealership and after sales network. To this end, Volvo plans to open a new dealership in Kolkata, thus giving it access to the eastern part of India, a region that it has had no representation in thus far. Currently, Volvo India has a presence in nine Indian cities: Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai, Ludhiana, Pune, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Chennai and Coimbatore. In the coming months, Volvo will expand to four more cities: Ahmedabad, Gurgaon Kolkata and Bangalore. With that, expect sales of Volvo cars to grow gradually even as the brand becomes more recognizable on Indian roads, for there’s no better advertisement of a car brand than its cars being spotted on the streets.