It wasn’t so long ago that Volvo was commonly thought of within car industry circles as ‘that funny Northern European, semi-premium car-maker that nobody wants’.
Former custodian Ford had reportedly been pitching around for a new owner for the firm for more than a year when, in 2010, China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Ltd invested $1.8bn to buy the ailing car-maker – and then promptly invested even more in brand-new engines and platforms.
At the time, it looked like some particularly bold decision-taking. How things change.
Five years on, Volvo’s story is continuing to look like the perfect advert for Chinese ownership of a big European car-maker; Volvo is flourishing, and Geely’s strategic vision is paying off too.
Global sales are 20% up from where they were five years ago, while profitability is up 50%; and, with Volvo’s help, Geely has developed the technology it needs to launch China’s first European-style premium car brand of its very own: Lynk&Co. Suddenly you can see why Geely invested all that money.
And now the first of the really big-selling new-breed Volvo models has hit the showrooms, and it’s the subject of this road test: the all-new XC60 SUV.