Kay Saunders, Volvo Car Group: Fleet focus in Latin America
Volvo Car Group has recently been focusing more on providing fleet services in Latin America and helping to lead the way is the group’s global fleet development manager Kay Saunders.
In my first interview since the executive became a member of the Global Fleet Advisory Board Latin America, we get a glimpse of what the group is focusing on and how they are going about doing it.
Global Fleet: First of all, could you give us an idea of the Volvo models we should be expecting in Latin America in the next year or so?
Saunders: Volvo Cars has been very busy with many launches in recent years. Among the models available or just around the corner are the 90 series (XC90, V90, S90), the 60 series (XC60, V60 and S60). Finally, the new Volvo XC40 is now being rolled out and arriving at local markets.
An interesting thing to point out for fleet decision makers is XC40 car-sharing through digital technology, something that can be used for corporate car pools. Similar to city-car clubs, the car could be used for a fixed period of time with a one-time digital key which is supplied via a mobile phone.
As for upcoming plans, our next objective is to focus on electrification. We intend to have at least 50% of our models running on some type of electrification by 2025. The first step involves mild hybrids operating hand in hand with internal combustion engines.
2018 Volvo XC40 (Source: Volvo Cars)
Global Fleet: Your one-year anniversary as Global Fleet development manager is coming up. What would you say has been your toughest challenge in Latin America, and are there any key accomplishments in the region as of yet?
Saunders: Well, getting started in the region has been the biggest challenge! It is still too early to highlight a key accomplishment other than fleet is back on the agenda for Volvo Latin America.
We are still mapping out our strategies and priority markets but, for sure, we are more focused this time around. With our stronger focus on fleet alone, we are expecting to see organic growth in the region.
Global Fleet: Which LatAm countries is Volvo more focused on and could you give me an idea of the strategies taking place in these markets?
Saunders: We are active in 12 countries throughout Latin America, each of which has its own agenda. Each region has specific objectives as well as challenges such as quotas. However, I would definitely say that Brazil and Mexico are key markets for us.
As for strategy, we intend to focus on the premium car market for clients who feel that safety is of utmost importance. Besides offering safety as standard equipment, we are also pushing the concept that cutting costs can also be obtained by reducing accidents.
Besides vehicle damage, many forget about hidden costs of accidents such as time off work and hiring temps to cover those in the hospital. Finally, what it the cost of a life?
Global Fleet: Do you have any examples of accident reduction statistics on your vehicles?
Saunders: Sure, the City Safety AEB system has been standard equipment on the Volvo XC60 since it was first launched in 2008. According to statistics from the Swedish police from 2010-2014, front end and rear shunt collisions reduced by up to 57% (in 50kph zones).
I’d also like to highlight a quote by the UK’s Thatcham vehicle safety research center. "Since the Volvo XC90 went on sale in 2002, it has sold over 50,000 vehicles, yet not a single person has been killed while driving, it, or as a passenger."
Global Fleet: Any final words?
Saunders: Its all designed withe people in mind, whether drivers, pedestians, cyclists...