Volvo Cars says full-year targets within reach
GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN (Reuters) - Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group said on Wednesday it was on track to reach its sales and profit targets for this year, after strong growth in China and modest gains in Europe helped boost the company's sales for 17 straight months.
Gothenburg-based Volvo's sales rose nearly 9 percent in the first 11 months of the year and expects full-year sales to rise close to 10 percent, which would mean an all-time sales record.
Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson told Reuters on the sidelines of a car safety seminar that 2014 looked to be a very positive year.
"We have our new Volvo car, we'll see an all-time high (in sales) and at the same time we are securing our profitability at the level we reached last year, and that was the goal."
Samuelsson said in August he expected a full-year operating profit of about 2 billion Swedish crowns ($265.8 million) this year, roughly in line with 2013.
Volvo, bought by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. GEELY.UL from Ford Motor Co. (F.N: Quote) in 2010, has seen its turnover in the United States, once its biggest market but now eclipsed by China, eroding over the past decade. U.S. sales have fallen by almost 9 percent so far this year.
"Next year I think we'll see an increase in sales (in the U.S.) but this year it may level out roughly on the level we are on now," Samuelsson said, adding he hoped to see clear signs of a market recovery in the early spring.
Samuelsson would not give a detailed sales forecast for the group next year.
"If things continue in this direction we are moving towards 500,000. But it's hard to be exact."
(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; editing by Susan Thomas)
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