Volvo has announced that it is appointing Dutch executive Lex Kerssemakers as its new U.S. chief. The 55-year-old replaces former chief Tony Nicolosi and will have an expanded role that will also see him run things in the rest of the Americas, including crucial emerging markets in South America. Nicolosi will now run Volvo’s finance company in the Americas.
Kerssemakers’ appointment comes at a time when Volvo’s sales in the U.S. are tanking. The automaker saw sales here drop 7.9 percent in 2014 to just 56,366 units. One of Kerssemakers’ first tasks will be to instigate a revival plan which calls for “over 100,000” sales in the medium term, driven by a renewal of the entire product range by the end of 2017.
The first of the new-generation Volvos is the 2016 XC90. It will be followed shortly by an S90 sedan and V90 wagon, after which we’ll see replacements for the S60, V60 and XC60. Also helping to boost sales will be an extensive marketing program dubbed the Volvo Way to Market. The program will see Volvo focus in four key areas: marketing tools, online presence, dealers and service.
Kerssemakers has worked in the auto industry for over 30 years and has held senior positions at Volvo for the past 16 years. His most recent role was head of product strategy and vehicle line management.
"I am looking forward to this challenge," Kerssemakers said in a statement. "The U.S. is a key market for the development of the group and today we get back onto the front foot.”
He will report to Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.