Volvo Trucks emphasizes safety, seeks rebound
Anna Müller, Volvo Trucks International vice president, said on Tuesday at a press event in Gimpo, Gyeonggi, that the company is focused on the Korean market despite challenges.
“The truck market declined in 2018, and we mostly see that these difficulties will continue in 2019,” said Müller. “We are committed to bringing new products and services so that when we come out of the downturn, we will be strong and continue to be successful and profitable.”
Korea’s construction industry has been sluggish compared to other markets overseas, leading to slower truck sales.
Sales for the Swedish automaker’s Korean unit last year fell around 20 percent to 2,239 vehicles from the previous year, when it recorded its highest-ever sales of around 2,900 units.
According to Global Insight, a Lexington, Massachusetts-based research firm, Korea’s construction market in 2018 grew 0.3 percent. Japan’s market grew 1.7 percent and the U.S. market 0.9 percent.
“Due to the worsening situation for the construction industry, the overall local mid- to large-sized truck market last year fell,” explained Kim Young-jae, managing director of Volvo Trucks Korea.
As a part of the Swedish government’s “vision zero” initiative to eliminate vehicle accidents, the automaker is putting safety at the top of its priority list.
“For the safety of our customers, our emergency braking system and lane-departure warning system are standard,” Kim said.
The company demonstrated its Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS) at the event.
A truck traveling at 50 kilometers per hour (31 miles per hour) came to an immediate halt just behind a test vehicle driving at 10 kilometers per hour.
The automaker also hinted that it is preparing to provide electric trucks to the market, including Korea.
“We are very dedicated to sustainable transport solutions, we have the technology ready,” explained Müller. “I cannot give you a firm date, but we are looking very closely for electric vehicles for the Korean market.”
BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [email@example.com]