Volvo increases plug-in hybrid sales 80%, nears 2020 target

Globally Volvo sold 37,775 plug-in hybrids during the first six months, up from 21,015 during the same period last year.

Europe accounted for 79 percent of the global volume, or 29,918 units, led by strong demand for the plug-in hybrid versions of the V60 premium midsize station wagon and XC40 crossover.

In China, plug-in hybrids accounted for 3.2 percent of Volvo’s sales, about 2,100 unit, mainly driven by the electrified version of the S90 flagship sedan.

Samuelsson last year set a target of having plug-in hybrids account for 20 percent the automaker’s global volume in 2020, a goal that he said remains in the automaker’s sights despite the COVID-19 crisis.

“That [target] definitely has not been halted by the pandemic,” he said. “Customers are asking for advanced electric cars.”

Samuelsson added that Volvo’s profitability has not suffered as it has transition away from a heavy reliance on diesels, which accounted for about 45 percent of Volvo’s European sales in the first half, down from nearly 60 percent during the same period last year.

“Revenues [from the sale of plug-in hybrids] have covered the material cost increase from moving to electrification,” Samuelsson said. “Long term, what would be really bad for your profitability is trying to sell those old school cars.”