But the company, on the whole, is taking a loss.
"Customer demand remains strong." Right now, that's the message coming out of Gothenburg from Volvo. It seems the pandemic, chip shortages, and soaring gas prices have done nothing to slow the Swedish brand. However, they actually have, with sales down across the globe. The aforementioned strife could also affect those numbers heading into the second quarter of the year. That said, the brand did manage to sell a total of 148,295 cars during the first quarter. Oh well. Life is all about give and take, even for massive companies like Volvo.
But the real news here is Volvo's big gamble on EVs. It feels like ages ago now, but some may remember that Volvo was one of the first to announce they'd be going fully electric. That 2030 target, by the way, still stands. And if the sales figures are anything to go by, the transition will do nothing but benefit the brand.
In the month of March, Volvo's Recharge models, like the C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge, made up 35.5% of all Volvo vehicles sold globally. Additionally, sales of fully electric cars made up 9% of total sales. However, the sales data points out something else. America's interest in Volvo cars, especially the electric ones, isn't very high. In total, only 9,248 Recharge models were sold in the US in March, down from last year's 9,924 Recharge models. By contrast, European sales are almost three times as high, despite also declining slightly compared to last year.
Also of note was the surprising success of Volvo's subscription service. The folks in Gothenburg said that the number of active subscriptions at the end of March increased by 174% compared to the same time period last year. Volvo attributed the growth to "increasing customer demand" in conjunction with broader offerings in more markets.
Despite the good news for all things Volvo EVs, sales are still down for the brand on the whole. European sales are down 30%, Chinese sales are down 21%, and US sales are down 5%. Right now, it's all about how Volvo chooses to take this loss. A portion of it could be attributed to supply chain difficulties and the pandemic, but the real test will be what the brand does next. Recent investments into wireless EV charging could give the Swedish automaker a competitive edge while subsidiary Polestar will help make the notion of electric mobility more attractive to the masses, which could indirectly help Volvo regain a growing share of the market.