Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group’s new president and CEO, held his first press meeting on his first morning on the new job Oct. 22 – and chose to do it outside of the usual corporate setting.
It meant the end of the six-month quarantine stipulated in the contract with his former employer, Scania. For three years Lundstedt was president and CEO of Scania, a company that, like MAN, is owned by Volkswagen.
The choice of location for this event provided a hint about new and more realistic times. The gathering took place on the shop floor of the largest Volvo Truck Center facility in Sweden. It’s located next to the highway to Norway just outside Gothenburg.
For obvious reasons Lundstedt could not say much about his plans for Volvo. However, expectations of increased profitability are great. Lundstedt is facing a marathon race to get to know staff, fellow employees, and get familiar with the product range and the various markets. Volvo's modern truck program is probably the least concern, while the portfolio of other brands may need to be reviewed and refined.
The number and diversity of makes in the Volvo group approaches a mechanical menagerie. Aside from Volvo, Mack, Renault and UD on-road trucks, plus the Dongfeng joint venture in China, there are Eicher Motors of India (commercial vehicles, motorcycles and ATVs, the latter as a joint venture with Polaris Industries of the U.S.); SDLG, Volvo and Terex off-road machinery; Prevost, Nova, UD and Sunwin buses, plus the marine arm, Volvo Penta.
Volvo's U.S. business needs to be reviewed, and Lundstedt will want to become familiar with Mack Trucks, a property that came along with the Renault Trucks acquisition in the early 2000s after Volvo's failed attempt to take over Scania.
Reporters watched as the new chief chatted with truck technician Patrik Granberg, a veteran with almost 30 years in the plant. They studied and discussed the state of diesel injectors that lay scattered on a workbench. It was a particularly hearty meeting, with two mechanically minded individuals appreciating precise equipment.
Volvo published this video of Lundstedt speaking with Jan Gurander, who now is leaving as acting president and CEO to resume his position as chief financial officer: