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Volvo's Australian sales streak ends after 25 months

The XC40 small SUV has given Volvo Australia incremental volume since its launch.

Volvo Australia has been on fire in the last couple of years, going from strength to strength in a new-vehicle market that’s been moving in the opposite direction. It’s been a remarkable run, but one that has finally come to an end.

According to VFACTS sales data released last week, March 2020 was the first month since January 2018 that Volvo’s sales decreased month-on-month in Australia.

While 25 consecutive months of growth is an achievement in itself, this particular result is even more staggering when you consider the economic pressures Volvo withstood for so long in a troubled Australian new-vehicle market.

Thanks to this run, Volvo Australia set its annual sales record in 2018 (6693 units) and then reset it in 2019 (7779). It was aiming for five figures in 2020, but that target is now looking too far a stretch.

With the impact of lockdowns brought upon by the ongoing global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic starting to be felt by the Australian new-vehicle market in the second half of March 2020, it’s little wonder it was the month that saw Volvo come back down to earth.

In fact, Volvo was one of the hardest hit in March 2020, with its 378 sales representing a massive 49.5 per cent decrease over March 2019.

Prior to March 2020, Volvo was one of very few brands, mainstream or premium, to increase its year-to-date sales, up 11.9 per cent in a new-vehicle market that was down 10.3 per cent to the end of February 2020.

Fast forward to March 2020, though, and Volvo’s promising year was flipped upside-down, with its considerable monthly loss setting it back in year-to-date sales, now down 13.4 per cent in line with the Australian new-vehicle market (-13.1%).

What the rest of 2020 holds for Volvo’s sales, and that of the wider Australian new-vehicle market, is anyone’s guess, but you can bet the XC40, XC60 and XC90 SUVs will underpin its push, with the S60 sedan and V60 and V90 Cross Country wagons playing lesser roles.