Volvo prepares for the long haul

The world's number two truckmaker Volvo says imports will suffer after the government hiked duties on used foreign vehicles.

Domestic car, bus and truck makers Avtovaz, Gaz and Kamaz convinced ministers they couldn't compete with foreign producers at current rates.  In an interview with Business Today, the head of Volvo Russia began by admitting orders in the credit crunch have already slumped.

“We have had an order backlog of more than a year in certain months. Now we're talking about a normal, for our industry, backlog of three to four months.”

RT: Russia's set to increase duties on imported used cars, what effect will that have on Volvo?

“Already the first 9 months this year we've had around 9,000 trucks imported into Russia, which is more than the number for the complete 2007.  For sure, the duties on used trucks will reduce the inflows of used trucks. As for Swedish governmental support to Volvo – not really.”

RT: What was your sales growth before the crisis and what sort of figures are we seeing now?

“On the road in Russia there are about 50,000 Volvo trucks, so we are in that respect by far the market leaders in terms of imported trucks.  Our market share is a little above eight per cent, and we would assume that in the long-term perspective we should be able to raise that to above 10 per cent.”