While many premium automakers are pouring their marketing expertise and producing new models to target developing markets (particularly South East Asia) Volvo, it seems, doesn't want to follow that trend.
The Chinese-owned Swedish automaker has released their ambitions for the future, shifting their focus to high tech cars. The Geely Holdings subsidiary is restructuring their mindset to target half of their annual sales in the future from full electric vehicles (EVs), while a third of their models will have autonomous driving technology, and half of their models will be on a subscription (shared motorpool) basis.
“Our customers’ expectations are changing rapidly. This means that Volvo Cars is also changing rapidly. These initiatives will help transform Volvo from being purely a car company to being a direct consumer services provider,” said Hakan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars.
While the announcement was certainly interesting for developed markets such as Europe and the United States, there were no plans announced by Volvo to grow their customer base and sales in developing markets such as South East Asia. The numbers tell the story: China is Volvo's single largest market for their automobiles, accounting for 75% of their 152,668 units in the Asia Pacific region. That means the rest of the continent (including South East Asia, among others) only accounted for 38,258 units.
Full electric vehicles, autonomous cars, and subscription cars are sensible in developed markets with the infrastructure to match, but are irrelevant in developing markets. It's a stark contrast to how premium and luxury automakers are making hteir presence felt in the region with new models and marketing strategies.
Domestically, Volvo's performance has been steadily growing but not enough to challenge other premium automakers. In the last annual Philippine automotive sales report (2017), Volvo's primary competitors (which came into the market much later) such as Volkswagen and Peugeot have each tallied 1363 units and 374 units, respectively.
Volvo Philippines, despite logging a positive 31% growth year-on-year, was only able to sell 122 units to their customers in the Philippines in 2017.