In the past, Audi’s sporty and good-looking cars have been the most popular among Chinese officials because of the perceived feeling of authority. But recently, many of the former Audi afficionados have made the switch to Volvo, a car brand typically known for its family friendliness and gas-efficiency.
On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping and wife stopped by a Volvo plant during a visit to Ghent to promote the Volvo’s recent addition to the list of brands eligible for purchase by government use – “a market worth $20 billion a year,” according to UBS Securities. Interestingly, other luxury brands, including but not limited to Audi, have been dropped from the list.
Thus, China’s government’s “budding romance” with Volvo is continuing to grow, thanks to company chairman Li Shufu’s (member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) positive relationship with the country’s elite. This relationship started when Geely purchased Volvo from Ford Motor Company in 2010, and Volvo began to be perceived as a domestic rather than foreign brand. If Volvo can continue to gain government popularity and be viewed as the premium luxury brand, then they could become a major player in the public luxury car market, which is currently 70% controlled by Audi, BMW, and Mercedes combined.