Local boss says Swedish marque is working on reducing its high maintenance costs, and increase its dealer footprint in Australia.
Whenever we recommend a Volvo product on any of our various outlets at CarAdvice, we always offer one caveat - keep in mind the cost of servicing relative to the competition. Volvo Australia, it seems, has been listening.
Nick Connor, Managing Director for Volvo Cars Australia, has been in the game for a long time, and he knows that servicing costs are an issue in Australia.
"We're definitely aware of the price of servicing, thanks largely to you guys," Connor told Australian media in Gothenburg.
"We are aware of it, and we are doing something about it. We will be lowering the costs of our servicing and delivering better pricing with fixed price servicing."
It's not just a Volvo Australia issue either, with Connor noting that Volvo dealers need to work harder too.
"The price of parts, to be brutally honest with you, some of our dealers have been pretty keen on their own pricing. I completely get the customer looking at that pricing," he said.
At the time of writing, a fully comprehensive five-year servicing plan with Volvo is around the $5000 mark, which isn't cheap, and Connor knows that could put people off in a market where competitive, capped-price servicing schemes have become the norm.
"We also see extended warranty as an opportunity for Volvo," Connor went on to say, "the US has done five-year programmes, but they haven’t done that as a standard - nowhere has a five-year standard warranty for Volvo."
While Connor is aware that none of the premium brands have moved on a proper extended warranty around the world, he knows it could be a benefit for Volvo in Australia.
"Premium brands simply haven’t had to do it, look at Audi sales in Australia for example," Connor said.
"We've looked at it, and it won’t actually cost us that much, because we don’t have issues with our cars. There’s a concern (within Volvo headquarters) that if we do it in Australia, the rest of the RHD markets might want to do it also."
Connor also noted that, in Australia, consumers have the legal entitlement to a longer warranty coverage anyway, via Australian Consumer Law.
"So we’re not giving consumers anything they aren’t already entitled to anyway," he said, "it’s not that we don’t have confidence in our products, because we do."
With the subject of servicing on the agenda, Connor was asked whether Volvo needed to increase the number of dealers it currently has in Australia, to become a bigger player in our market. Despite ongoing sales success - on the back of exceptional XC40 and XC60 sales - the brand is still a relative minor in the Australian market.
"I don’t think we have to grow the number of dealers we have," Connor said.
"We have enough dealers to deliver a lot more through put than we do today. We need to expand workshops, add technicians, make the best use of what the existing network has already got."
While keen to emphasise that things are getting better, Connor knows that there is always room for improvement, especially in a market as competitive as Australia.
"It is getting better, but we also need some more workshop capacity, and we can improve the efficiencies of those workshops, with better access to the people who actually work on the cars, and get more cars through the network, but we’re not looking at putting on tons of new dealers.
"If we have multi-skilled dealers, we could double our through put tomorrow."