Volvo Construction Equipment dealers from North America recently travelled to the company’s headquarters in Europe to discuss growth beyond the economic crisis, helped by the US$100 million investment in Volvo CE’s Shippensburg facility.
Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) Dealer Advisory Council from North America recently met with members of Volvo’s senior leadership at the company’s headquarters in Belgium and at a factory in Germany. On the agenda was growth beyond the recession, following the difficult economic crisis from which North America is still struggling to emerge. A major focus of the meeting was the increased production that will arise from the US$100 million investment in Volvo CE’s Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, facility.
The council, which meets twice a year in North America to discuss the business climate in each dealer’s respective territory, comprises 10 American and Canadian dealers, appointed by Region North America President Göran Lindgren. Part of the dialogue of this meeting involved time with CEO Pat Olney and Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Eberhard Wedekind.
“The most important thing was for North American dealers to see that Volvo CE is ready and able to grow rapidly – because we need our dealers to grow along with us,” says Sam Wyant, Volvo CE North America’s vice president of sales through independent dealers, who was present at the meeting.
North American dealers need to prepare for the increased production that will arise from the US$100 million investment in Volvo CE’s Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, facility – which will see the production line expanded to build wheel loaders, excavators and articulated haulers. It will also see a world-class demonstration and training center built, along with offices for the marketing, sales and technology teams. Construction of the new facilities is ongoing, and employees at the Asheville, North Carolina, plant will move to Shippensburg in September. The factory will eventually produce 70% of machines sold in the North American market.
“This investment has multiple benefits, many of which will affect our North American dealers,” says Göran Lindgren. “It will give them more flexibility in terms of lead times so they can react much more quickly to changes in the market. And buying equipment locally will also make them less vulnerable to currency swings.”
The purpose of the Dealer Advisory Council is for Volvo CE to maintain affiliation with its dealers, but of equal importance is the dealer-to-dealer relationships that are strengthened during these meetings. The European visit provided many opportunities for dealer networking and socializing, including dinner and a tour of the Volvo production facility in Germany.
“We can get a great deal accomplished together during events like these,” says Bill Golden of Golden Equipment, based in New Mexico and Colorado. “We discuss what we’re trying to accomplish so that we don’t end up with competing or overlapping strategies and policies. We’ve all survived the last three years, and we’re all in this together for the future.”
Text: Christin Runkle
Picture 1: Volvo Construction Equipment’s North American Dealer Advisory Council take a tour of the Volvo plant in Konz, Germany.
Picture 2: The members of the Dealer Advisory Council pose at Volvo CE’s Konz, Germany, facility.