Swedes could be forgiven for wondering if Li Shufu really knows what he wants. After all, Li bought local carmaker Volvo saying he wanted to reduce perceptions of ‘Chineseness’ at his own car firm Geely. But on Swedish television recently, the tycoon then suggested that the inside of a Volvo “feels too Scandinavian”. What did he expect?
It seems that Li is struggling to figure out how he can make the Volvo brand more popular in China, where he wants to sell 200,000 Volvo cars by 2015, up from the 42,000 sold last year (and that was down 11% on 2011). The answer, Li thinks, is Volvo’s positioning in the Chinese luxury segment. And that’s where the interiors come in. One Geely executive told the Financial Times: “In Sweden, there is a long dark winter, so people prefer light interiors. But in Chinese culture, dark colours are viewed as more luxurious.” So to drive sales in China, expect more black and grey upholstery from Volvo in future…
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