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Volvo Car bullish on full-year sales goal

Chris Wailes was recently appointed managing director of Volvo Car Thailand.

Volvo Car Thailand is upbeat on its full-year sales prospects after experiencing sharp growth in the first seven months.

The Swedish carmaker sold 681 units from January to July, representing a 47.7% year-on-year rise.

Newly appointed managing director Chris Wailes said Volvo expects 40% growth in the remaining months.

"Among luxury car brands in Thailand, Volvo has been the fastest growing in term of sales volume this year," he said, adding that Thailand's overall luxury car market saw 17,000 units sold from January to July, up 23% year-on-year.

The luxury car market in Thailand is dominated by Germany's Mercedes-Benz and BMW, while other brands include Audi, Lexus and Volvo.

"Volvo's market share in the luxury car market also improved by one percentage point to 5.8% as of July, which was very successful for the company," Mr Wailes said. "We expect to achieve a market share of 8% by the end of 2017."

Mr Wailes is the successor to Anette Andersson, who left the post in June.

He has worked for Volvo for 28 years, starting in 1989 with experience in Britain and other European countries from 2001-12 as manager for product and pricing. In that role, he developed new sales volume channels to improve performance by 78% in just one year.

In 2015, he was appointed as a market area director for Asia-Pacific based in Shanghai, China. He was responsible for all commercial country operations and set up new businesses in Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and Sri Lanka with two-year operational performance growth in existing markets in excess of 20% a year.

Mr Wailes has set an ambitious target for Volvo Car to achieve a 10% market share in the luxury car segment in Thailand by 2020.

"To reach this target, Volvo needs to improve its dealer network locally and ensure its global concept, Volvo Retail Experience, increases customer satisfaction such as aiming to reduce service maintenance time from three hours to only one hour," he said.

Moreover, Volvo plans to launch five more models over the next two years and focus more on electrified cars on par with the Gothenburg-based company's strategy to cope with low-emission vehicles.

Volvo saw its highest sales in Thailand in 2012 with 1,854 cars sold before a drop of 13.5% to 1,603 in 2013.

The company sold 1,260 cars in 2014 before a further decline to 935 in 2015.

Last year, Volvo's performance improved for the first time in four years with 954 cars sold, up by 2%.

Some Volvo cars sold in Thailand are imported from a plant in Malaysia with a production capacity of 3,000 units per year, while other models come from Sweden and Belgium.

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