Despite their shared name, Volvo Trucks and Volvo Cars have been two entirely separate businesses since the end of the 1990s. AB Volvo Group of Sweden is the world's third largest manufacturer of commercial transport behind Volkswagen and Daimler, and Volvo is the #1 truck brand in Europe by market share. In addition to Volvo-branded trucks and buses, the group controls the famous Mack heavy trucks brand in North America, as well as Prevost and Nova buses and coaches. It produces a range of commercial vehicles in Europe under license from Renault, while in Asia, its businesses include UD Trucks of Japan and India's Eicher joint venture. Other divisions make construction equipment, engines and drive systems. Global demand for heavy trucks and equipment has proved mercurial for several years, rising and falling sharply since the mid-2000s. Deliveries for 2016 were 190,000 trucks, the lowest figure since 2010. That weakness led to the replacement of CEO Olof Persson in 2015 by former Scania boss Martin Lundstedt. Performance has rebounded strongly since then to 232,769 trucks and buses in 2019, plus another 86,900 construction vehicles. Group revenues hit a record high in Swedish kroner in 2019, the equivalent of almost €40.8bn (SEK 432bn). However sales slumped sharply in Covid-impacted 2020 to around €33.5bn with net income of €2.0bn. Truck deliveries fell to 166,841, but deliveries of construction equipment actually increased to 93,760. In a normal year, just under two-thirds of sales are provided by the trucks division, and around 20% by construction equipment. Europe accounts for over 40% of revenues and North America for 28%. Volvo was one of five European truckmakers fined in 2016 by regulators for taking part in a cartel to fix prices for their vehicles. Founded in 1927, Volvo's name was derived from its predecessor company which made ball-bearings (Volvo is Latin for "I roll"). It was primarily a car manufacturer for most of its first 50 years, but gradually expanded its heavy division in the 80s and 90s through acquisition (Mack from GM in 1986, Renault trucks in 2000). Until 2012, Volvo's biggest shareholder was Renault of France. The two companies came close to merger in the 1990s, but Renault sold its remaining shares in 2012.
Capsule checked 21st June 2021
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Adbrands Daily Update 20th Aug 2019: "The Cash Machine". Volvo Trucks tries something slightly different in its latest campaign for North America out of the local outpost of Forsman & Bodenfors (formerly KBS). Instead of highlighting the technical wonders of its heavy trucks, it's targeting instead the financial aspirations of drivers themselves. You might not immediately think of driving a Volvo truck as the path to great wealth but F&B aims to show you how. Not sure how convincing the sales pitch is, to be honest, but it's certainly entertaining. Our favourite gag is the last one.
Adbrands Social Media 25th Oct 2018: Volvo and agency Forsman & Bodenfors try to summon up a little of that old magic with this entertaining ad for - of all things - heavy diggers. Their truck ad a few years back featuring Jean-Claude van Damme's "epic split" caused a global sensation, but it's fair to say that Dolph Lundren is no van Damme, lacking the Muscles from Brussels' sense of sense-parody or indeed any discernible acting skills. And earth excavators don't really have the sexiness of a big ol' truck. So, nice try but no cigar. Even so, it's not every day you get a spot for construction equipment so let's enjoy the moment, even with a few reservations.
Adbrands Weekly Update 4th Jan 2018: Chinese auto manufacturer Geely, owner of the Volvo passenger cars business since 2010, took steps to forge closer ties with that brand's namesake and former parent, Volvo Group of Sweden, which makes heavy trucks under the Volvo and Mack brands. The two businesses have been separate companies for almost 20 years, when Volvo sold its passenger division to Ford, who later sold it on to Geely. Now the Chinese group will acquire a near-15% voting stake in Volvo Trucks from a private equity firm.
Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Dec 2015: Ads of the Week "Look Who's Driving". Proof that NOTHING is quite as dangerous as a four-year-old. The latest Volvo Trucks live test from Forsman & Bodenfors allows a little girl to remote control a full-size ten-ton truck with disastrous results... but not for the truck which sails through multiple appalling bad steering calls with little more than a few scratches. Very funny and awesomely destructive. Do you think just anyone can sign up to play this game? Beats anything you can get on a home console...
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Jun 2015: Volvo Trucks and its agency Forsman & Bodenfors, collected a second consecutive Grand Prix in Creative Effectiveness for the Live Test Series, a multiple award winner at the 2013 Festival here taking a second bow. It was one of several repeat winners in this category, which allowed entries from the past three years.
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