Volvo is planning a simpler future for its model line-up as it looks to improve its conquest business in the fleet market.
Volvo UK managing director John Wakefield (pictured right) told Company Car Today that the brand’s fleet/retail split is currently just north of 50% in favour of fleet, but that it has also been making the most of old contacts in 2018.
“We had a large database of corporate fleet we weren’t doing anything with,” said Wakefield. “We have spent the past few years getting into that and reselling to people we used to sell to. We are now focusing more on a conquest basis. Last year, we introduced ourselves to 600 companies.”
As part of an attempt to boost and simplify its appeal, Volvo is looking to cut down its trim and engine packages in a similar manner to brands such as Seat and Renault, which revised their offerings in 2018.
“We are really bringing down the different options with the customer in mind,” said Lex Kerssemakers, senior vice-president, Volvo Cars Europe, Middle East and Asia.
“In June we will reduce the number of trims, the number of single options and make the buying journey easier.”
Wakefield said that this was not in conflict with the desire to appeal to a fleet customer, and that the corporate market could help shape these packages.
“Simplicity doesn’t rule out the fleet customer, you might need to have simplicity in different price brands,” he said.
“There are typical price break points for fleet so we can design cars that fit into those bands ourselves, which would ape what the driver would choose.”
Volvo is also planning to release a new diesel engine at the same time as it revamps its trim-level offerings, but stressed that this would be the last new diesel it would introduce as it looks to move to an electrified future.
Kerssemakers also confirmed that the next V40 might take a different form from that of the current hatchback, with a higher-riding model a possibility. The coupe-like 40.2 concept (pictured below), shown in 2016, could be a basis for the new bodystyle. A new V40 is not planned for the short term, though, with Kerssemakers saying that nothing will be shown for at least the next 12 months. The current car will end production during 2019.