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Volvo unveils new China headquarters

SHANGHAI, Jan 25, 2011 – Volvo on Tuesday opened a new China headquarters in Shanghai as it seeks to expand its market share in the country following Chinese group Geely\’s purchase of the Swedish carmaker last year.

Volvo president and chief executive Stefan Jacoby said the company\’s Chinese presence had gone from being a sales arm to a full-fledged research and manufacturing operation within months.

"I am glad to see the China operations team has been set up and has made a huge progress over the last few months, expanding our business presence in China," Jacoby said in a company statement.

The new headquarters on Shanghai\’s northern outskirts will also include a technology development centre, the company said. Volvo officials declined to say how much the carmaker was investing in the facilities.

Geely bought Volvo from Ford in August for $1.5 billion (1.2 billion euros), and the Chinese carmaker aims to sell 800,000 Volvos in 2020, including 300,000 in China.

In 2010, Volvo sold 373,525 vehicles with sales rising by 29 percent in northern Europe and 36 percent in China.

Sales dropped 12 percent in the United States to 53,952 vehicles, although it remained Volvo\’s top market.

China\’s overall auto sales rose more than 32 percent to 18.06 million units last year, following a banner 2009 in which the country overtook the United States as the world\’s top market.

"China is the world\’s largest auto market. To capture the business growth and build Volvo Cars (into) an admired brand in China, (the company) has been strengthening the leadership team in China," senior vice president and Volvo China chairman Freeman Shen said in the statement.

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"Our goal is to build Volvo cars one of the most admired luxury car brands," Shen added.

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