(LEAD) Volvo targets 20 pct sales growth in S. Korea this year

Volvo Car Korea Co. said Tuesday it is targeting a 20 percent on-year sales growth this year helped by electric models. The Sweden-based carmaker sold a total of 14,431 vehicles in Asia's fourth-biggest economy in 2022, down 4 percent from 15,053 units a year earlier. This year, Volvo has set a sales goal of 17,500 units and plans to invest 111 billion won (US$85 million) to expand showrooms, after-sales services centers and other services in South Korea, the company said in a statement. To boost sales, Volvo said it will introduce the all-electric EX90 flagship SUV here later this year. Volvo plans to introduce the EX90 SUV in Korea "in the not too distant future" for the first time among Asian markets, Nick Connor, head of Volvo's Asia-Pacific regional operations, said in a press conference held in Seoul in September. He said the model will be "a smash hit and resonate with Korean consumers." Asked about the EX90's battery system, Volvo Cars President and CEO Jim Rowan said the company will maintain its technology and battery partnerships with South Korean battery makers as it is "very important for the future." He didn't elaborate on what battery system will be installed in the EX90 to be sold in South Korea. The C40 Recharge SUV, launched last year as the Volvo brand's first pure electric model, is equipped with Korea's leading battery maker LG Energy Solution's battery system. As for the possibility of an online sales platform in Korea similar to the one in Britain, he went on to say the company will focus on providing a "seamless experience" to Korean customers. The parent firm Volvo Cars is 82 percent owned by Geely Automobile Holdings, China's largest privately owned automotive group. In February last year, Volvo Cars Korea launched the C40 Recharge and the electrified XC40 SUV, as part of the company's electrification push. The C40 Recharge is one of seven pure electric models to be released by Volvo Cars by 2030. Volvo aims to become fully electric by 2030.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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