According to Chris Wailes, managing director of Volvo Car (Thailand), the Kingdom’s automotive industry is on the upswing thanks to exponential growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market. He promises bold plans for the country over the next few years, with all marketing efforts focusing solely on Volvo EVs and plug-in hybrids.
He said the company intends to release a new EV model every year for the next four years.
In his opinion, EV production and delivery for Thailand will suffer no direct impact from the Russia-Ukraine conflict either this year or next. However, some issues with shipping remain, which the company is closely monitoring.
To support its aggressive marketing, Volvo has opened Volvo Studio Bangkok, Southeast Asia's first “brand experience centre”, where customers can learn about the iconic Swedish vehicles. The location also serves as a showcase for Volvo's new technology, such as batteries and integrated software that works with Google Maps.
Wailes said the centre is not a showroom for selling cars but a space to explore Volvo vehicles and technology. The 226-square-metre Volvo Studio Bangkok is located on the third floor of Iconsiam on the Bangkok riverside.
"We believe the opening of Volvo Studio Bangkok will change how people think about viewing a car,” said Wailes. The choice of Thailand’s capital for the first Volvo Studio in the region was testament to the Kingdom's significance as a market in Southeast Asia as well as Volvo Car’s success here, he added.
Aside from the showcase area, the studio has a café and bar as well as a multipurpose area for customers to hang out. The location can be used to meet up with friends or to attend regular Studio events such as mini-workshops, which Volvo plans to hold at least three times per month.
Pattarapong Ahapalasiri, head of Commercial Operations, Volvo Cars (Thailand), added that customer feedback on Volvo's sales of 100-per-cent EV cars has been positive.
Volvo has suspended sales of all-electric vehicles in order to complete remaining orders this year. He predicted the next round of orders would be opened in Q4.
Although the global economy has been slowed by high inflation, Pattarapong believes that Thailand's EV market – particularly the premium segment – can continue to grow. Sales growth of Volvo EVs should match the low double-digit rate seen last year, he said.
Thanomsak Santanaprasit, head of Business Development and Customer Experience, added that beginning next month, Volvo will upgrade the battery system used in all of its plug-in hybrid models, allowing the cars to travel faster and further. This would be another exclusive technology experience for Volvo customers only, he boasted.
Published : June 29, 2022
By : Nongluck Ajanapanya