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Volvo creates U.S. and Canada division; Gustafsson will step down

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Michael Cottone, a 21-Twelve months Volvo gentle, will lead newly configured unit in gorgeous roam.

January 17, 2023 01:06 PM

Volvo Autos is restructuring its Americas business and spinning the U.S. and Canada markets correct into a separate unit.

Anders Gustafsson, 54, head of Volvo Autos Americas and CEO of Volvo Automobile USA, will quit his tasks March 1, three of us briefed on the topic educated Automotive news.

Michael Cottone, a 21-Twelve months Volvo gentle and Western Space vice president, will take grasp of over the head job in the U.S. and Canada. Cottone, 43, will picture to a Volvo Autos industrial govt, now not to CEO Jim Rowan.

It’s unclear if Gustafsson plans to continue with Volvo or return to Sweden.

Volvo Automobile USA confirmed the reorganization to Automotive news.

“To enhance and bag obvious a stable focal level on Volvo Autos’ mettlesome targets for enhance, corpulent electrification and an omnichannel buyer expertise, the Americas residing construction will evolve, increasing a devoted organization for the US & Canada,” a spokesman stated in an electronic mail.

Gustafsson’s exit taken aback Volvo’s outlets, who appreciated the govt.’s straight-shooter manner.

“The dealers are sick about it; they establish now not comprehend it,” a dealer stated. “For your lifetime, you stumble upon very few charismatic leaders that can lead and ship, and [Gustafsson] is one in every of them.”

Cottone’s elevation comes at a severe juncture for the business.

As Volvo pivots to an all-electrical designate by 2030 and experiments with a singular gross sales model, Cottone faces a dealer community serene figuring out what the unique draw manner for their business.

The Swedish automaker has laid out a methodology to promote battery-powered models online via volvocars.com and dealer websites — a prospect that has made some outlets frightened.

Whereas the pandemic and provide shortages had been magnificent for retailer margins, the unique Twelve months brings trade. Cottone and his personnel must navigate financial headwinds as inflation and hobby charges chew into demand for gigantic-tag luxurious automobiles.

In 2021, Volvo Autos stated it deliberate to promote its battery-electrical automobiles via an online model and ship them to dealerships slightly than having outlets stock a complete bunch of unique cars.

Meanwhile, Cottone must compose on the emblem’s aggressive product rollout while striking ahead the emblem’s most up-to-date market momentum.

Cottone started his profession with Volvo in 2001 and has held corporate, regional and worldwide positions, in conjunction with designate manager for the XC60 and product draw management.

Cottone “understands the retail business,” stated a dealer who asked now not to be known. “He’s targeted on the visitor expertise and the client.”

But Cottone has gigantic sneakers to fill.

“He has the aptitude to be an even leader, nonetheless at that stage, it is a quantum leap,” the retailer stated.

The trade at Volvo’s U.S. headquarters in Mahwah, N.J., comes amid a leadership poke in Gothenburg.

Closing Twelve months, Volvo Autos CEO Hakan Samuelsson retired, environment off a series reaction. Plenty of Volvo veterans were in competitors for the CEO job. But in a surprise roam, the board picked Rowan, a normal Dyson high govt, for the job.

Rowan has briskly rearranged his cupboard, naming two deputy CEOs and transferring four of the 11 executives — in conjunction with Gustafsson —  off the automaker’s perfect management tier.

A offer stated Gustafsson became supplied one in every of the deputy CEO roles nonetheless did now not bask in to return to Sweden.

Meanwhile, one gentle Volvo exec — and onetime presumed front-runner to be successful Samuelsson for the CEO job — has stepped down. Henrik Green, who previously served as CTO, launched on LinkedIn earlier this month that he is leaving the automaker.

Gustafsson took over the reins of the main U.S. market in 2017 at the morning time of a gross sales resurgence for Volvo. In his five years at the helm, Gustafsson oversaw the opening of Volvo’s U.S. assembly plant and counseled the emblem via the upheaval of the pandemic. The designate’s U.S. annual gross sales grew 25 percent below his conception.

“We like Mike and can enhance him, nonetheless there would possibly be never the form of thing as a rational reason Anders is leaving,” a dealer stated.

Volvo and retail plod in Gustafsson’s veins.

He has had a connection with the Volvo designate since age 14, washing cars at the Volvo dealership his family has plod in southern Sweden for more than four a long time. Gustafsson, who had been Hertz Sweden CEO, joined Volvo in 2009, taking on the automaker’s Swedish market management.

Gustafsson’s retail background endeared him to the U.S. dealer community.

“The dealers primarily loved the man,” a retailer stated. “Anders became entrenched and extremely revered in Sweden.”

However the relationship has been examined in most up-to-date years.

Following a dealer uprising over the salvage gross sales draw, Gustafsson went on a six-metropolis roadshow in April 2021 to guarantee dealers they weren’t being marginalized.

Gustafsson furthermore dealt with pushback on Volvo’s assorted retail experiment — its automobile subscription program. Unlike many automakers who abandoned the gross sales model, Volvo adapted its subscription program, which continues to elongate into unique markets.

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