„Every buyer, owner and user of Volvo trucks can rely on the company’s support always, and in that we also differ from the competition. During twenty years of working in Serbia, we have amassed thousands of loyal customers and hundreds of partners among transport companies. That’s a wealth that has no price.”
Volvo Trucks this year commemorates 20 years of operations in Serbia. You have been part of the team from the very start, and in some way you have developed and progressed personally together with the company. What has marked Volvo’s work in the region during the past two decades?
In the past two decades, “Volvo” d.o.o. has become a leading company in the truck sector in Serbia, not only in terms of sales volumes, but also in terms of infrastructure. We are the only brand to have three fully equipped and professionally staffed sales and service centres in our country (Novi Banovci, Novi Sad and Čačak). During our first twenty years in Serbia, we have amassed thousands of loyal customers and established business links and friendly relations with hundreds of transport companies, which is a wealth that has no price. It is a great honour for me to have been part of Volvo’s team in Serbia for twenty years, and I am grateful that I have been able to progress in a business sense, in parallel with the growth of the business activities of “Volvo” d.o.o.
The year is coming in which, due to European regulations, all hauliers that want to engage in international transport will have to possess vehicles with the minimum Euro VI environmental standards. This will render several thousand cabs and solo trucks “ripe” for replacement
Your local anniversary also coincides with the birthday of Volvo, which is this year celebrating a respectable 90 years of doing business in more than 130 countries. To what extent can the local market absorb Volvo products, in the broadest sense, primarily with consideration for economic capacities?
Due to economic potentials that are still limited, Serbia is a relatively small market for the truck industry, but it is not an insignificant one, which is precisely why Volvo decided to open its own company in Belgrade – “Volvo” d.o.o. – at the end of March 1998. Our operations over the past twenty years have confirmed that the decision was totally justified, because sales of the entire range of Volvo Trucks, despite occasional market oscillations, have risen constantly. In truth, for a full two decades the structure of sales has been dominated by vehicles from the heaviest family – FH, haulage cabs and solo trucks for long-haul transport, which are very popular among Serbian hauliers engaged in international transport.
As such, it is no surprise that we have sold more than 4,000 new units from this family over the last 20 years. Over the last few years, in conjunction with intensification of the construction of large infrastructure facilities, primarily roads, there has also been growing demand for dumper trucks and “construction” trucks from the FMX family. However, our vehicles from the midrange FM family, and even the lightest FL vehicles, are gladly found within fleets, primarily those of utilities enterprises and power distribution companies. We are encouraged by the fact that we have been approached by increasing numbers of specialised customers in the last year, so we recently delivered the first specially equipped trucks for the transport of timber, and as this publication goes to print we will also be delivering a special vehicle for use in the process of washing aircraft.
Volvo proudly announced record sales results in 2017. Do you already have – on the basis of first quarter results – estimates for this year, at both the global and local levels?
Quarterly results at the global level have yet to be published. We are currently summarising results at the local level, and according to initial analysis we are recording stable sales in 2018 compared to the same period of 2017. We are counting on this trend continuing, because for the next few years the Serbian market will be “hungry” for modern vehicles, primarily trucks for long-haul transportation.
We have ever more specialised customers that we are providing with special purpose vehicles. We recently delivered the first trucks specially equipped for the transport of timber, while we are also planning to deliver a special vehicle for washing aircraft
Volvo’s collaboration with customers doesn’t end with payment. On the contrary, from the company’s perspective that’s just the beginning. Why does Volvo deals with customers in some segments practically forever?
That has been the business philosophy of the company since the appearance of the first Volvo truck, way back in 1928, and this is one of the things that set us apart from the competition – constant care for the customer, but also the user of a Volvo truck. That support is multifaceted: from training drivers to drive economically and safely, and to treat their vehicle as a home away from home, via advice on maintenance, to the swift and high-quality provision of services in any part of Europe! We certainly strive to ensure that our warehouses are always stocked with the most important and vital parts for engines, gearboxes, suspension etc.; actually, we have all parts needed for entire trucks or buses, even for vehicles that are several decades old. And if there is some part that we don’t have in our possession, we will try to ensure it arrives in just a few days, regardless of where in the world it is currently located! The buyer-owner-user of Volvo vehicles is our priority!
Your company website includes the statement: “Our promise to the world – responsibility at the heart of everything we do”. Where does responsibility begin and end when it comes to Volvo?
Our responsibilities begin with the first turning of a screw on the assembly line where Volvo Trucks are made – we guarantee the quality, reliability and longevity of all products – and end with our special care for the environment – ensuring that we leave the smallest possible ‘footprint’ during production and usage, and at the end of the life of a Volvo truck. In all of this, of course, is our commitment to the customer and constant striving to satisfy all their requirements and needs.