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"Everyone's saying the shine's come off it, but our product strategy is clear": Volvo laser-focused on pure-electric car future despite Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and others dialing back EV plans

The EX90 will join Volvo's local line-up in Q1 2025.

Until recently it appeared certain an unstoppable EV wave was in the process of wiping out combustion-powered vehicles thanks to a combination of environmentally-focused consumer sentiment and government regulation driving carmaker product strategies.

Tesla had seemingly turned the automotive world on its head with legacy brands as well as newcomers from China and elsewhere urgently joining the global EV line-up.     

This year has been something of a reality check for electric vehicle sales, particularly in North America and Europe, with demand softening appreciably after early adopters and high-end buyers have seemingly had their EV appetites satisfied.

Brands including Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, JLR and Volkswagen have either scaled back or delayed their electric vehicle plans in the face of consumer reaction to relatively high pricing and a lag in provision of adequate charging infrastructure.

All of a sudden Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda looks like even more of a genius as the Japanese giant (along with others like Hyundai Group) benefits from a consciously diversified product approach with pure combustion, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric offerings contributing to the company’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Bullish calls by the likes of Alfa Romeo (all-electric by 2027), Ford (EV-only in Europe by 2030), Jaguar, Land Rover, Buick and Cadillac (EV-only by 2030) are typical of the big battery electric manufacturer push.

Volvo is on the 2030 EV-only train with the Australian subsidiary pushing even harder by marking 2026 as its ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) line in the sand.  

But while an EV-rich future is still on the way, some, like Cadillac, are now saying while they will offer a full line-up of EVs that won’t necessarily mean the end of ICE production.

The EX90 is arriving Q1 next year.

Yet, when CarsGuide asked Volvo Cars Australia Managing Director Stephen Connor if a slowing global EV market and concessions from other EV-centric makers might modify the company’s local strategy, the answer is crystal clear.

“No. We never worry about what the competitors are doing. We watch what they’re doing but we don’t worry about them.

“Everyone’s saying the shine’s come off it, we’re not selling as many. But there are two camps - volume battery electric and what we would class as premium battery electric. Premium battery electric is still going up and there’s increasing sales.

“The volume battery electric (segment) is starting to come off. But we’re not worried about that. 

“We’ve got a brand new battery electric car arriving every year for the next four years. So, we’re clear on our path,” he said.

Volvo is on the 2030 EV-only train.

Following a long period of annual sales growth Volvo Australia has taken a step backwards in terms of year-on-year volume after the first four months of 2024.

But Mr Connor is confident this will be another successful year for the brand locally thanks largely to the recent introduction of the EX30 compact EV SUV.

“We’ll still have growth this year. We’ll deliver between probably twelve to 12,500 cars this year (Volvo registered 11,128 cars in 2023).

“We’re looking to EX30 for 30 per cent of sales, which will give us a 70 per cent EV mix. And we have the EX90 arriving Q1 next year, “ he said.

James Cleary
Deputy Editor
As a small boy James often sat on a lounge with three shoes in front of him, a ruler between the cushions, and a circular drinks tray in his hands. He would then play ‘drivings’, happily heading to destinations unknown for hours on end. He’s since owned many cars, raced a few, and driven (literally) thousands of them at all points of the globe. He’s steered around and across Australia multiple times, spent time as an advanced driving instructor, and had the opportunity to experience rare and valuable classics here and overseas. His time in motoring journalism has included stints at national and international titles including Motor, Wheels and TopGear, and when asked to nominate a career highlight, James says interviewing industry legend Gordon Murray, in the paddock at the 1989 Australian Formula One Grand Prix was amazing, especially as Murray waived away a hovering Ayrton Senna to complete the conversation. As Deputy Editor, James manages everything from sub-editing to back-end content, while creating written and video product reviews, as well as the weekly 'Tools in the Shed' podcast.'
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