Volvo Car India Limited became the first carmaker in India to locally assemble a plug-in hybrid vehicle in India. The Volvo XC90 in its T8 variant has been available in India as a full import for a few years already but will be locally assembled in India from late-2019 onwards. The XC90 is the top-of-the-range Volvo and the carmaker said that it would follow a top-down approach and start assembling other hybrid variants of other products afterwards.
The Swedish carmaker owned by Chinese firm Geely automotive has seen impressive growth in 2019, growing sales by 40 per cent in 2018 so far. Charles Frump, Managing Director, Volvo Car India, mentioned that the introduction of the new small Sports Utility Vehicle, the XC40 has given a major impetus to their sales. “One issue we had in the past is while people appreciated our products we did not have sales and service touch points in many smaller cities in India, but seeing the success of our new dealerships in places like Indore and Raipur I believe that one reason for our success in 2018 is our increased outreach.”
However, speaking of the hybrids, Frump did say that currently, “Ninety percent of Volvo’s sold are powered by diesel”, but believed that with environmental concerns coming to the fore hybrids and battery-electric vehicles will become increasingly important in India as well as a way of combating pollution and fuel economy issues. “But a lot still needs to be done around the infrastructure space for electrification in India and there needs to be more policy intervention.”