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ES25_IN_Volvo_JOSÉ MARÍA GALOFRÉ

SPAIN - Industry

José María Galofré Ragel

CEO, Volvo Car España

Bio

José María Galofré Ragel is an Industrial Engineer with a Master´s degree at Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Industrial of Madrid and holds a Master in Environmental Management from CEPADE. He began his professional career in the automotive industry in the SIMPSON Dealership Group and subsequently went on to found and manage the EUROTAX Company in Spain, also including support to the DEKRA Company’s foundation in Spain. In the year 2000, he started to work for Volvo Car España as General Commercial Director and has been the CEO since 2005.

“In Spain, half of our car sales are electrified, with 16% pure electric.”
TBY talks to José María Galofré Ragel, CEO of Volvo Car España, about brand loyalty, sustainability, and goals for the coming year.
What factors contribute to Volvo’s strong brand loyalty in Spain?

Volvo is one of the OEMs that enjoys the most loyalty, which signifies that we are offering our customers the right products and services. Our customers remain loyal to our brand, not only because we represent fantastic values, but also because of their highly positive experiences, mainly reducing the time to get an appointment (digitally) and the time in the workshops. Throughout our 60 years in Spain, the brand has enjoyed high levels of loyalty. As part of Volvo, we possess a significant advantage with our values stemming from our purpose since the company’s inception in 1927: caring for people. Thanks to the special purpose of our founders and our values, our commitment to caring for people extends beyond the confines of the car, encompassing a sustainability strategy as well. Our objective is to serve the entire community. Following the 2016 Paris Agreement, we pledged emissions neutrality by 2050 and zero emissions throughout our value chain by 2040, underscoring Volvo’s commitment to sustainability. We fulfil these objectives annually, aiming to double our volume and market presence in Spain within a decade. With growing trust in Volvo, we continue to gain traction in the market.

What ambitious objectives has Volvo set regarding its transition to a circular economy, climate action, and societal improvement?

We aim to achieve a carbon-neutral environment by 2040, necessitating the establishment of various targets. By 2025, our goal is to halve all emissions and electrify 50% of our cars. By 2030, our sales will be exclusively electric. This objective, while global in scope, requires contributions from Volvo Car España. A special report on the sustainability performance of all automobile dealers in Spain found Volvo the winner. In all our facilities, we exclusively use renewable energy, and our premises adhere to recycling practices for every material. Similarly, our dealers have adopted similar practices. Dealers have reduced emissions by nearly 40% since 2018, largely using green energy, including solar power. We engage in social initiatives like beach cleanups and road safety education in schools. In collaboration with Lego, we educate children on software solutions. They build Lego Volvos with electric engines and robotics, programming orders for these cars to navigate simulated roads.

How does Volvo plan to meet the demand for electric vehicles in the European market with its lineup of electric vehicle models?

We are in a unique situation aligning with European targets. In Spain, half of our car sales are electrified, with 16% pure electric. Italy and Spain are very far from the battery electric vehicle (BEV) penetration or the plugging hybrid penetration The industry in Spain only has 4%, pure electric and 8% plugin hybrid in total 12% electrified cars . Despite low industry electrification, our sales surpass expectations, with over 52 % electrified cars. This means we contribute significantly to emission reduction. For us, it is not just about electric cars but caring for our planet. Electric cars, powered by green energy and shared with the community, align with our commitment to emission reduction, recycling, and neutrality. We are dedicated to our BEV cars, even addressing charging concerns by focusing on urban solutions. Despite misconceptions about charging availability, Spain has ample infrastructure, and electric cars offer not only environmental benefits but also cost advantages. We aim to inform rather than push customers, emphasizing the advantages of transitioning from internal combustion engine (ICE) to BEV cars.

What are some concerns of customers in transitioning to electric vehicles?

We can summarize them in three areas: infrastructure charges, autonomy, and fast technology. A BEV car’s autonomy is around 300-400km, which is ideal for urban areas. BEV cars offer convenience by addressing pollution while allowing charging at home, eliminating the need for gas stations. Urban infrastructure ensures easy access to charging facilities. Regarding autonomy, our BEV cars offer sufficient range for most needs. For longer trips, we provide a free charger, an ICE car, and a substitute Volvo for 21 days. Additionally, we offer Flex Usage leasing, allowing contract cancellations without penalty if new technology emerges. We aim to do things differently. We do not want to harm our beautiful planet because it is not just about the planet. The planet will continue, with new animals and plants, but it is also about people and how we will live in the coming years.

From pioneering seat belts to advancing autonomous driving, how has Volvo’s innovative history influenced automotive safety and technology development?

The invention of the safety belt in 1959 marked a pivotal moment. Volvo’s decision to offer it free to competitors, foregoing royalties, underscores the value placed on safety over profit. This exemplifies the ethos of being pioneers in the industry. Our aim is to drive sustainable mobility, a mission we are proud to champion in Spain. Our commitment to customer loyalty and retention is unwavering. We have embraced digitalization to enhance customer experience, leveraging data to tailor services. Through the Volvo app, customers gain access to a network of 100 workshops, owned by various entrepreneurs, yet seamlessly integrated for convenience. The predictive model ensures efficient scheduling, with operations often completed within an hour. We plan ahead, checking inventory beforehand to maximize productivity. This dedication to efficiency has seen a significant improvement in dealer productivity over the past five years. Our focus remains on delivering exceptional experiences, seamlessly integrating digital and physical touchpoints along the customer journey.

What key factors drove Volvo’s remarkable 43% profit increase in 2023, marking a significant milestone in its history?

We are following the right strategy. With a customer-focused approach, prioritizing people and sustainable mobility, consumers recognize Volvo’s commitment to offering the right products and methods. Six years ago, our goal was to provide mobility, personal safety, and sustainability, delivering a personalized experience while emphasizing care, consistent with Volvo’s purpose. Our aim is to create the safest cars, incorporating autonomous technology, recognizing that 90% of accidents result from human errors. We strive for a car that can make decisions to ensure one’s safety without your intervention. Our investment in these concepts has garnered fantastic consumer perception, affirming our past decisions. We plan to sustain growth in the upcoming year, driven by our customer-centric focus. In Spain, we doubled our growth last year and we doubled our market share in less than a decade.

What are the key priorities for Volvo Car España in the coming year?

Our philosophy regarding personal mobility, safety, and sustainable mobility will align with our message. We will continue with this direct-to-customer approach, because we integrating digitalization into customer service. Currently, we are fully integrating the lead process with our dealers. This direct approach is part of our overarching objective. Under our vision, “Figital” is the solution for customers. We aim for a unified voice across all touchpoints, ensuring consistency whether in Malaga, Barcelona, or on our webpage. Every message received is shared by all Volvo dealers or workshops, offering a consistent experience. We are committed to enhancing retention, a key element tied to customer experience.

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