Volvo Cars must improve its understanding of Chinese consumers. This is what Li Shufu, founder and chairperson of Volvo's owner Geely, said in an interview with the Swedish national news programme SVT Rapport on Tuesday.
“Volvo has one weakness and that is the design. And the cars’ interior does not feel luxurious enough. It feels too Scandinavian. They haven’t adapted to the Chinese people’s perception of luxury when it comes to the interior design of Volvo Cars and this has to be addressed,” said Li Shufu to SVT.
Peter Mertens, head of research and development, said there are no differences of opinion regarding the design.
“The design does not cause conflicts, but there are different requirements. For example, Volvo’s customers in China often have private chauffeurs. This means that you need to focus more on the backseat and details that are not as important in Europe,” he told SVT Rapport.
Volvo Cars’ Director of Communications, Bodil Eriksson, also said there are no conflicts regarding the design. She said to national newspaper Svenska Dagbladet:
“What he [Li Shufu] comments on is the existing cars. We are on a journey to develop Volvo towards a luxury car brand. We all agree that we have to improve the interior and design.”
Volvo Cars recently launched new versions of six current models at the annual motor show in Genève. A focus with the renewed models was to improve the quality of the cars' interior and make it more premium. Completely new models are not expected to hit the market for two years.
But Bodil Eriksson maintained that Li Shufu was referring to Volvo’s long-term programme. She also revealed for Svenska Dagbladet that Volvo will hire Robin Page from Bentley as the new head of interior design.
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