The paradigm shift of Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson

Volvo C40 Recharge

The Swedish carmaker officially presented its second battery-only model, the C40 Recharge, on Tuesday.

(Photo: AFP)

Frankfurt In his old days VolvoBoss Hakan Samuelsson made a paradigm shift. For him, no more speed and roaring engines are the hallmarks of good cars. “Values ​​are the new horsepower,” he told journalists on Tuesday. For him, these values ​​are security and sustainability.

The former comes as no surprise even to people with a rough overview of the auto industry. The Swedish manufacturer has always built solid and safe vehicles.

When it comes to sustainability, the 69-year-old is now creating facts: From 2030, Volvo will only build and sell pure electric cars. The subsidiary of the Chinese Geely becomes a pioneer. BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen do not want to say goodbye to the internal combustion engine until after this date.

Managing Volvo is a matter close to the heart of Samuelsson. His active career was after positions with truck manufacturers Scania and MAN, where he was last CEO, actually ended in 2009.

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With the last group in particular, he was rather uneasy after the takeover of MAN by VW. But when he was asked by Geely boss Li Shufu for the chairmanship of Volvo Cars, he quickly agreed after consulting his wife.

Hakan Samuelsson

When it comes to sustainability, the 69-year-old Volvo boss is now creating facts.

(Foto: Bloomberg)

Since October 2012 he has been heading the manufacturer from Gothenburg, which had suffered a decline until then. With the Geely founder, Samuelsson has an owner behind him who gives him freedom – and who unreservedly supports his electrical strategy.

Farewell to burners is consistent

Only the money for the revival of Volvo had to earn Samuelsson himself. The manager has meanwhile increased sales by almost half to over 700,000 vehicles with a completely renewed car fleet. Volvo’s development focused on electric models, combustion engines became obsolete. The farewell announced now is consistent.

And it suits Samuelsson. The manager, who speaks his native language Swedish, English and German equally, keeps his calm and serenity even before difficult decisions, as employees report. “And he goes his way in a straight line.”

Halves are not for him. He ticks like Shufu, who therefore committed to developing electric cars at an early stage.

Focused on Germany

Ultimately, there is no alternative, as the Volvo boss says. The limit values ​​for the emission of pollutants are becoming increasingly strict in Europe, North America and China. There will be no future for cars with a gasoline or diesel engine. With the new strategy, Samuelsson also presented the second electric model from the Swedes: The purely electric SUV Coupé C40 is to take over the legacy of the V40 and be sold online via the brand’s own car subscription model.

More than before, Samuelsson has focused on Germany with his electrical strategy. As a former member of the MAN board, he knows the country and lived in Munich for a long time. “I felt comfortable there.”

In order to make Volvo successful, however, the models would have to be successful in the home market of BMW, Daimler and VW, he once said. The chance now presents itself to him. Germany is now the lead market for electromobility – and Volvo has found an answer to the change with the end of combustion engines in 2030.

More: Volvo’s ambitious electric plans are putting the competition under pressure. A comment.


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