Volvo investing in people to build on market share
THE president of the Volvo Group’s trucks and buses in southern Africa, Torbjörn Christensson, is very bullish on South Africa’s economy in the year ahead.
Speaking at the annual business review of Volvo commercial vehicles in Johannesburg recently, Christensson told Wheels the first month of the year had already seen a rise in orders of especially mining trucks.
Next Volvo Group Southern Africa expects to grow its market share in Africa during 2017 and beyond, through an enhanced footprint that will bring worldclass quality products and support right to customers’ doorsteps. The company already has 30 dealer sites across southern and eastern Africa, with new sites in Alrode and Angola completed in 2016 and fully operational.
New facilities are also currently being developed in Pinetown, Port Elizabeth, Kenya and Zambia. Volvo also has representative offices in Zambia, Ethiopia, East Africa and Angola to bring support closer to customers in those regions.
Locally, Volvo Group is represented by Volvo Trucks, Volvo Bus, Volvo Penta as well as the UD Trucks brand.
More than a thousand staff are employed by Volvo Group in southern and eastern Africa through various representative offices, brand headquarters, as well as two factories in Durban and Rosslyn, shared back office support and a regional distribution centre for parts.
“The company combines the best of two worlds: synergies by having global organisations for product development, manufacturing, and purchasing but still clear leadership and responsibility for each brand to make sure that customer needs are understood and met throughout the entire organisation,” said Torbjörn Christensson, president of Volvo Group Southern Africa.
He said the company is also constantly exploring ways to develop and improve the way they support their customers.
“There are high market demands on new financial solutions and we are therefore developing financial solutions as part of our total offering. We should be able to make some announcements in this regard during the second quarter of 2017,” explained Christensson.
Volvo Trucks Southern Africa’s 360° customer service strategy has seen its CSI ratings improve significantly over the past year. In the sales category, Volvo Trucks moved from third to first position with a 98,5% customer satisfaction rating.
Its service score also improved to 94,86% moving the brand from 12th to fourth, while parts CSI improved to 94,46% from eight to fourth position. The combined scores makes Volvo Trucks the leading brand in the European commercial vehicle segment.
“We may do business with other companies, but people make the decisions. Trust and relations are as important as the total offer. We have branded products and services and it is with these and our representatives that our customers form relations. In the end, by bringing together the best of everything, from the offer to the relationship, our customers will ultimately reap the rewards of a profitable and successful business,” said Christensson.
As part of its commitment to road and driver safety, new safety features will be introduced on the Volvo Trucks Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicle range locally, ranging from adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and emergency braking, lane keeping and lane support, as well as driver alert support — all aimed at assisting the driver to operate the vehicle safely and responsibly.
These new “safety” trucks will be assembled by Volvo Trucks at its Durban factory, which was recently renovated at a cost of over R6,5 million to enable, among others, the assembly of these specialised units.
Volvo Trucks last year sold of 1 957 units for a 15,6% market share of the local commercial vehicle marke. Volvo Bus South Africa increased its market share on rear engine buses to 27% and is forecasting a total market share of between eight percent and 10%.
The company invested R25 million in 2 308 people during 2016 in its Diesel Technician Apprenticeship Programme, learnerships and bursaries.
Volvo has also renewed its commitment to the NGO Star for Life, investing R8,1 million into the lives of pupis at 17 schools in Gauteng and KZN.
— Wheels Reporter.
The future is so bright, Torbjörn Christensson, president of Volvo Group Southern Africa, has to wear shades.