Volvo emboldened by upsurge in sales

Volvo Group (Thailand) is moving ahead with a 4-billion-baht investment, boosted by unprecedented sales growth of 163% year-on-year in the first eight months of 2012.

President Jacques Michel said the growth was due mainly to Volvo's new truck models and rebounding demand for trucks after last year's floods.

Details of the figures were unavailable.

Last year, the group delivered 1,027 Volvo trucks and 132 Volvo buses in Thailand and neighbouring countries.

Volvo trucks are assembled in 16 countries around the globe.

More than 115,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide last year.

Volvo Group early this year unveiled a plan to spend 4 billion baht in Thailand, to be split equally between buying and expanding the Volvo-owned Thai Swedish Assembly (TSA) plant, and upgrading existing branches and opening new outlets.

On completion next year, the TSA plant's annual production capacity will be 4,500 Volvo trucks, up from 2,000 now, and 20,000 UD-brand trucks.

UD trucks were earlier built and distributed locally by Nissan Diesel Thailand, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hong Kong-listed Tan Chong.

Volvo Group (Thailand), wholly owned by AB Volvo, assumed full ownership and management of UD trucks in Thailand late last year.

Figures on production capacity for UD trucks under Tan Chong were unavailable.

"The truck market grew significantly in Thailand this year because it recovered from sales that were battered by the impact of the massive floods late last year," said Mr Michel.

The heavy-truck market in Thailand is estimated at 12,000 units a year.

Volvo is scheduled to open its first branch in Khon Kaen province today as part of the company's ambitious plan of opening 10 branches over the next 12 months.

The company is also committed to renovating five existing branches owned by Volvo and another two owned by private dealers of UD trucks.

Under the network expansion plan, 150 positions will be created to strengthen Volvo's team.

Mr Michel said Thailand remains Volvo's key strategic truck market in the region despite being smaller than Indonesia.

Thailand is Volvo's production base for Volvo and UD truck exports worldwide, especially UD trucks destined for Asia (except Japan), Africa and South America.

"That is why we invested an additional 2 billion baht to expand Volvo's assembly plant in Thailand," said Mr Michel.

About the author

Writer: Santan Santivimolnat
Position: Reporter