A Volvo Bus. Picture: Supplied.

A Volvo Bus. Picture: Supplied.

Volvo Group Southern Africa is on the expansion train with new facilities currently being developed in Pinetown, Port Elizabeth, Kenya and Zambia. The automaker also plans to expand its market share across Africa in 2017.

In the second half of 2016, the automaker launched new sites in Alrode and Angola, which specialise in truck servicing.

Locally, the Volvo Group’s products comprise of the Trucks, Bus, Penta and UD Trucks brands.

Throughout Africa, Volvo has representative offices in Zambia, Ethiopia, East Africa and Angola. In addition to building new facilities, the automaker is now looking to improve some safety vehicle features and soon introduce new financial solutions.

Introducing new safety features

Volvo will be introducing new safety features on its local Volvo Trucks Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicle range.

President of Volvo Group Southern Africa Torbjörn Christensson said the new innovations include electronic stability control, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and emergency braking, lane keeping and lane support, as well as driver alert support.

These features are also aimed at enhancing the overall driving experience by minimising fatigue and increasing productivity, Christensson said.

The new safety features will be assembled at Volvo’s Durban plant which recently underwent a R6.5 million renovation.

New financial solutions

Christensson said that the company has also made a concerted effort to ensure customer needs are understood and met throughout the entire organisation.

He added that the company is constantly exploring ways to develop and improve the way they support their customers.

“There are high market demands on new financial solutions and we are therefore developing financial solutions as part of our total offering,” Christensson said.

“We should be able to make some announcements in this regard during the second quarter of 2017,” he added.

2016 performance

Volvo grew its net sales by 1.2% despite challenging market conditions in Africa during 2016. Volvo Trucks claimed a 15.6% market share of the local commercial vehicle market last year with a total of 1,957 units sold.

Volvo Penta also continued its strong run in the local market in marine diesel and off-road engine sales.  During 2016, Volvo Penta recorded a 20% increase in orders and a 55% market share of the power generation segment.

Globally, Volvo Bus increased sales by 10% during 2016, including 3,000 hybrid-technology buses.

The company also invested R25 million during 2016 in its Diesel Technician Apprenticeship Programme, several learnerships and bursaries which benefitted a total of 2,308 people.