With record-setting year in the books, Volvo eyes further growth

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Volvo built more trucks than ever before for the North American market in 2015, setting market share records in the US and Canada in the process.

But Goran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America, said the company has more room to grow and will be aggressively expanding its reach into certain market segments in the years ahead.

Speaking to a group of trucking editors at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C. this week, Nyberg said he was proud of the growth Volvo achieved in 2015. Its market share climbed 0.4% to a record 12.4% in the US and was nudged up 0.1% to 16.3% in Canada, also a new record. Volvo shipped a record 38,849 trucks out of its New River Valley truck plant during the year, which surpassed its production in 2006, the best year ever for truck demand.

Volvo also set new highs for the uptake of its own engines (93%) and its I-Shift automated manual transmission (83%) in Volvo trucks and saw its downsped XE powertrain package ordered in 27% of its trucks.

“If you can gain share even in a tough market, that’s something that needs to be celebrated,” Nyberg said.

The North American truck market in 2016 has showed signs of softening and Nyberg said he’s anticipating demand for Class 8 trucks this year to total about 260,000 units.

“It’s still a very good year,” he said. “We are adjusting to the new normal now.”

Nyberg said he’s anticipating orders to ramp up in the second half of the year. Volvo achieved its record share in 2015 mainly on the strength of its long-haul and regional haul business but Nyberg said there are other segments the company will be chasing more aggressively. These include petro-chemical, intermodal and heavy-haul applications.

“I truly believe we have a great opportunity to grow in some of those segments,” Nyberg said. “We will defend and continue to push our core segments but we will find further growth in other industry segments.”

Nyberg said Volvo dealers have been investing in their facilities and are being rewarded with record dealer sales. Volvo dealers have invested about US$500 million over the past five years, adding bay capacity, constructing new facilities and adding staff, tools and equipment.

“It expands our footprint and it tells us as a brand that they – in many cases family-owned businesses – believe in the future of this brand,” Nyberg said.

Volvo Group recently restructured its global business to become more brand-centric.

“We’ve gone back to a brand organization, where each brand has a direct line out to every market they are represented in,” explained Nyberg. He said the renewed focus on each brand within the Volvo Group will be beneficial.

“We recognized that customers are buying from brands,” Nyberg said, adding Martin Lundstedt, the new president and CEO of Volvo Group, “wants us to be laser focused on each brand and maximize the opportunities for each brand.”

Nyberg added, “From a Volvo Trucks North America point of view, we will be one step closer to headquarters and making sure we get all the attention we need.”

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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