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Volvo to go fully electric with online-only showrooms

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Saleha Riaz
·3-min read
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Volvo said the premium electric market is the fastest-growing segment in the global car industry. Photo: Getty Images
Volvo said the premium electric market is the fastest-growing segment in the global car industry. Photo: Getty Images

Volvo (VLVLY) said it plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030 and will launch a “completely new family” of electric vehicles in coming years, all of which will be available online only.

The news comes as COVID-19 restrictions have meant showrooms have remained closed for long periods of times, hurting car sales.

“Volvo Cars is fundamentally changing how and where to meet its customers, and will transform the current wholesale model by moving online and with strong customer relationships,” the carmaker said in a statement.

As part of its new strategy, it plans to invest heavily in its online sales channels, as well as ”radically reduce complexity in its product offer, and with transparent and set pricing models.”

“The future of Volvo Cars is defined by three pillars: electric, online and growth,” says Lex Kerssemakers, head of global commercial operations. “We want to offer our customers peace of mind and a carefree way of having a Volvo, by taking away complexity while getting and driving the car. Simplification and convenience are key to everything we do.”

Volvo said the premium electric market is the fastest-growing segment in the global car industry and so it wants to focus on developing electric cars only going forward.

The company also wants to build stronger customer relationships together with its retail partners.

“Online and off-line need to be fully and seamlessly integrated... the customer experience needs to be top-notch,” added Kerssemakers.

READ MORE: Two in five UK drivers will never afford an electric car

When buying an electric Volvo online, it will come with a "care package" that includes items such as service, warranty, roadside assistance, as well as insurance where available and home charging options.

On its online store, the company wants to "radically simplify" the process for, and reduce the number of steps involved in, signing up for an electric Volvo.

Earlier this month it was reported that Britain suffered its weakest January car sales in 51 years, as showroom closures brought the market to a near standstill.

Sales of diesel vehicles fell by 62%, while petrol car sales dropped 50%. But on the plus side, demand for electric vehicles rose by 8% and hybrid sales grew by 34%.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders CEO Mike Hawes called for showrooms to be opened as soon as safely possible to help protect jobs and the industry. March is the busiest month of the year for car sales, SMMT said, accounting for one in five sales in the year on average.

Despite the increased demand for electric cars, and one report showing that in the UK, 12 million drivers are considering buying an electric vehicle in the next two years, a survey from November showed that two-in-five (37%) UK drivers do not think they will ever be able to afford one.

Nearly two-in-five (37%) said that they would currently be able to afford a used, small EV like a Nissan Leaf (NSANY) — priced around £5,000 ($6,668). One-in-five (18%) could manage to buy mid-range car, such as a second-hand Volkswagen (VOW3.DE) Golf EV for £18,000.

Top-end cars remain out of budget for many Brits, with a quarter (24%) saying they could never save enough cash to buy a used Tesla 3 (TSLA) — priced around £42,000 — and nearly one-in-three (29%) said they would only be able to afford one if they won the lottery.

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