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Volvo Cars Q2 results: full speed ahead in transformation with a solid business performance

Volvo Cars today reports a 39 per cent increase in operating profits, excluding joint ventures and associates, to SEK 6.4 bn and a corresponding EBIT margin of 6.3 per cent for the second quarter of 2023. The result came despite a SEK 0.9 bn non-recurring item related to the redundancy programme announced in May, part of securing a more efficient and sustainable cost base for the future. Without this item, the underlying EBIT margin, excluding joint ventures and associates, was 7.2 per cent in the second quarter. This illustrates that the solid underlying performance momentum from the first three months of the year continued during this past quarter.

The company’s EBIT, including joint ventures and associates, reached SEK 5 bn, which was lower compared to the corresponding period last year. This is mainly because group EBIT for the second quarter of 2022 was positively influenced by the one-time, non-recurring accounting effects of Polestar’s listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York. The interim report for the second quarter of 2023 can be found here.

“The second quarter of 2023 shows that the year is shaping up as planned,” said Jim Rowan, President and Chief Executive. “In these past three months we have continued to deliver on our ambitious transformation goals and made steady progress. At the same time, we also achieved a solid underlying business performance with increased sales and revenues. We are performing and transforming, while navigating the external challenges that have come our way.”

During the quarter, the company reported a continued strong sales performance in electric cars. Sales of fully electric Volvo car models increased by 178 per cent year-on-year during the quarter and accounted for 16 per cent of its total share. The company’s newly launched fully electric cars – the Volvo EX90 and EX30 SUV models – are not yet in production and have so far not contributed to the company’s 2023 performance. Once these new cars hit the roads, they will further boost fully electric car sales towards Volvo Cars’ ambitious goal to sell only fully electric cars by 2030.

While it delivered a higher percentage of fully electric cars during the quarter, the company’s margins on fully electric cars were impacted in this period because the lithium used in these cars was sourced when prices peaked during late 2022.

Additionally, as it introduced new model year 2024 fully electric cars with a considerably better range than existing models, Volvo Cars proactively shifted out the inventory of model year 2023 cars.

As the company enters the second half of 2023 this dynamic will change, since it will not only benefit from lower lithium prices, but also realise the effects of increased pricing on MY2024 fully electric cars. Therefore, margins on fully electric cars are expected to improve in the coming quarters.

Last month, Volvo Cars also revealed the fully electric EX30, its first ever small SUV. With this car, the company enters an important new segment and customer demographic, and one that it expects to grow rapidly in the coming years. The EX30 will also boost the company’s profitable growth in fully electric cars, with expected gross margins on the car in the range of 15 to 20 per cent. Both the EX30 and the larger EX90 are exciting steps into the future and clearly demonstrate Volvo Cars’ course going forward: premium electric cars, built on next-generation electric architectures with advanced battery and computing technology, as well as next-level passive and active safety features.

Volvo Cars continued its commercial transformation this past quarter. In June, it reached another key milestone when the United Kingdom became its first market to fully transform from a traditional wholesale business to a direct consumer model that is designed around flexibility for the customer. The knowledge it gains from the UK commercial transformation will be crucial as the company plans to make more markets fully direct in the coming years, together with its trusted retail partners. This will both improve the overall customer experience and make its commercial network more efficient, transparent and cost-effective.

In May, Volvo Cars also increased the focus on the global cost optimisation and resource efficiency initiative it launched late last year. This included a global redundancy programme including around 1,300 office-based positions in Sweden, as part of efforts to reduce costs and drive efficiencies across its global operations. The aim is to establish a more efficient and sustainable cost base for the future, by restructuring and changing ways of working in parts of the organisation, as well as focusing even more on securing the relevant skills it needs to be successful.

Q2 operating and financial performance
In terms of its operational performance during the second quarter, Volvo Cars recorded revenues of SEK 102.2 billion, an increase of 43 per cent versus the same period in 2022. It also saw a solid global sales increase of 25 per cent to 178,800 cars sold, a strong performance in electrified car sales, as well as continued premium pricing in many markets.

The sales performance was helped by improved production output in the company’s factories. During the second quarter, it produced 50 per cent more cars than in the same period last year. This is a validation of the steps the company introduced to make its supply chain more resilient, such as broadening its supplier base, improving performance and delivery from its suppliers, developing direct relationships with key semi-conductor companies and foundries, and creating more transparency in the overall value chain.

Second-quarter EBIT, excluding joint ventures and associates, was weighed down by a non-recurring item of about SEK 0.9 billion, but still came in at SEK 6.4 billion, an increase of 39 per cent year-on-year. This cost was related to the redundancy programme that was part of the enhanced cost-efficiency initiative announced in May.

Efforts to reduce the company’s CO2 footprint per car also continued to progress. During the second quarter of the year, overall CO2 emissions per car were 18.8 per cent lower compared with its 2018 benchmark, supporting its mid-decade ambition of a 40 per cent CO2 reduction per car.

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