July 26, 2021

Gp Delivers1

The excellent automotive artisans1

Volvo online-only sales idea worries its dealers

Adam Simms, CEO of Price Simms Auto Group, which operates two San Francisco Bay area Volvo stores, said Volvo is promoting extreme positions in a business that evolves incrementally.

He cites Volvo affiliate Polestar as an example. Under the original plan for the brand, Polestar dealers would carry no vehicle inventory and instead receive customer-ordered cars for delivery. The EV brand has since pivoted, now offering dealers 10 vehicles to hold at their stores to satisfy impulse buyers.

“There are customers that want to order the car, and there are customers that want to drive the car, buy the car and take the car home,” said Simms, who operates two Polestar locations in the Bay area. “You’ve got to be able to embrace both — it’s not one or the other.”

But some Volvo dealers welcome the brand’s willingness to experiment.

Volvo’s retail initiatives are attracting younger buyers, and making the brand “cool,” said Matthew Haiken, owner of New Jersey-based Prestige Collection, which operates two Volvo stores in East Hanover and Englewood.

“I love being a partner of a company willing to adapt,” Haiken said. “If we don’t try new things, then the third parties will take over. It’s resonating with customers.”

Volvo’s results bear out Haiken’s outlook. Volvo’s U.S. sales last year surged 57 percent from five years ago. The brand delivered 110,129 vehicles, the highest since 2006.