Volvo sold 661,713 cars in 2020 – strongest second-half ever, gained market share, overall 6.2% down

Volvo sold 661,713 cars in 2020 – strongest second-half ever, gained market share, overall 6.2% down

Last year, especially the first half of 2020, was a bad one for most businesses as the coronavirus took hold. Volvo Cars had a tough start too, with sales dipping 21% at the halfway mark. But the Swedish brand bounced back to have the strongest ever second half sales in its history.

Second half sales rose by 7.4% year-on-year to 391,751 cars. By the end of 2020, Volvo sold 661,713 cars, a decline of 6.2% versus 2019. Volvo said it acted decisively to mitigate the impact of the pandemic during the first half of the year, allowing it to quickly restart operations after a brief shutdown and embark on a strong recovery, helped by growing demand for its Recharge electrified models.

The share of Recharge cars, with a fully electric or plug-in hybrid powertrain, more than doubled in 2020 compared to 2019. In Europe, Recharge cars contributed 29% to overall sales, making Volvo the leading brand in the region for chargeable cars. It was also the leading plug-in hybrid brand in the US.

Volvo sold 661,713 cars in 2020 – strongest second-half ever, gained market share, overall 6.2% down

In China and the US, Volvo’s two largest individual markets, the company reported growing sales for the full year as it managed to more than recover from a Covid-related sales drop in the first half.

“We had a great second half of the year after a tough start, gaining market share in all our main sales regions. We aim to build on this positive trend in 2021 as we continue to roll out new electrified Volvos and expand our online business,” said Lex Kerssemakers, head of Volvo’s global commercial operations.

The Geely-owned premium brand said that it outperformed competitors and gained market share in all its main sales regions during the first 11 months of 2020. Sales rose 7.5% in China in 2020 (to 166,617 cars), and 1.8% in the US (110,129 cars). In both markets, strong demand for the Volvo’s XC SUVs was responsible for the majority of sales.

In Europe, the Gothenburg-based carmaker saw strong demand for its Recharge cars in many key markets. A sluggish overall market, battered by pandemic-related restrictions, meant that overall sales fell 15.5% for the whole year.

As for the sales breakdown by model, the XC60 SUV was the best selling Volvo in 2020 with 191,696 units (204,965 in 2019), followed by the XC40 with 185,406 units (139,847 in 2019) and the XC90 with 92,458 units (100,729 in 2019).

Volvo says that the ongoing pandemic has accelerated its move towards online sales, which will continue to be a focus area in 2021. In 2020, Volvo more than doubled its number of subscriptions sold online versus 2019. Conquest rates via this channel continued to be high, supporting the increase in market share.

Volvo sold 661,713 cars in 2020 – strongest second-half ever, gained market share, overall 6.2% down

As for new models, Volvo says that it is committed to becoming a premium EV company and in the coming years, it will launch “several full EVs”. By 2025, the carmaker aims for its global sales to consist of 50% fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids. Volvo is also proud of the fact that currently, it’s the only carmaker to offer a plug-in hybrid variant on every model in the range.

On the local front, Volvo Car Malaysia announced last week that it sold 1,950 cars last year, the highest annual total since the establishment of the company, beating 2019’s 1,883 units, which was the previous record. VCM sold 1,384 units in 2018, so it’s a big jump in a short time.

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • Joseph on Jan 19, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Good for Volvo.
    But sales would be better if not for their decision to limit top speed to 180km/h.
    Ya. I agree with their advert headlining that it is stupid. As if a campaign like that can successfully use reverse psychology

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
    • Safety First on Jan 20, 2021 at 10:59 am

      “It is a ridiculous idea”- They said in 1959 when Volvo introduced seatbelts.

      “It is a ridiculous idea”- They said in 2020 when Volvo introduced speed cap.

      Think SAFETY FIRST!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  • Tahniah! Volvo, Geely, P1, Mesidis, Lotus > all

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Volvo really has good cars. S60, S90, XC40, XC60, XC90, all nice cars. Those who only buy brands should start to consider Volvo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • the power of Geely, and now with Foxconn comes into the picture, even better

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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