Volvo USA CEO talks EX90 EV, supply chains, and the tech arms race
Volvo Cars USA CEO and President Anders Gustafsson sat down with Yahoo Finance’s Pras Subramanian to discuss the company’s outlook for EVs, supply chains, and ramping up software and services in vehicles.
BRIAN SOZZI: Volvo is speeding toward an EV future and the build-out of key infrastructure in the US. Yahoo Finance Senior Correspondent Pras Subramanian has more on this. Pras.
PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: All right, Sozz, Volvo's first dedicated EV is here, the EX90 SUV. A very popular model for them was the Predecessor XE90. So Volvo wanted to get this thing right here, the seven-seat SUV. It will have around 300 miles of EV range and features like bidirectional charging. Only built in the US as well, like you mentioned.
So earlier I spoke to Anders Gustafsson, the SVP of Volvo Cars Americas and President and CEO of Volvo Cars USA, about the new EX90. But also the lingering supply chain crisis, which is still a problem today. Here's what he had to say.
ANDERS GUSTAFSSON: Absolutely. We are-- we are kind of living that kind of a world, too. So what I'm kind of [? relying ?] on, I know what I know today. But I don't know if it's going to be additional COVID issues on our supplier side. And that's the kind of-- it's troublesome but also we have learned to live with it. And we plan and take decisions based on week-per-week.
We have a quite good control over the last weeks of 2022. So-- and as you know, we can never control weather. And of course, there's always logistic issues. But overall, what we see today it looks strong. The demands on the US market is very, very, very strong. And that's the same in the other countries in Americas. Canada is also doing well. And our office in Brazil is also waiting for more cars.
PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: So things are improving a bit. And Anders tell me, though, he couldn't divulge numbers yet, that he's, quote, "very happy with sales in November."
BRAD SMITH: So we're seeing an increase in focus towards software and digitalization in the auto sector as well, Pras. Is that something that we can excel-- or expect to see more of from Volvo here, too?
PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Yeah, Tesla really took the charge here with software and services, like OTA updates and buying cars online. Volvo sees this as the future, too. One where the automakers are super focused on tech and software offerings. Here's what Anders had to say about whether the automakers are now engaged in a tech arms race.
ANDERS GUSTAFSSON: Absolutely. That's like kind of a-- it's a very good question. And that's really what we're working with right now. It goes fast and we would like to kind of-- it's always better-- I didn't say cheaper, I said better-- to have that kind of a core competence inside the company because then we can be faster.
And to run a car manufacturer is a lot of things is about, you know, speed. Speed cannot compensate the wrong direction. But it's-- if you are in the right direction, and I think we are, then this is going to be a successful tool to achieve that.
PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: So they're leaning in here on it from in-car software to service offerings. It's something, Sozz, Ford CEO Jim Farley told me once that they're actually hiring dozens, and dozens, and dozens of engineers from Silicon Valley.
BRIAN SOZZI: Jim Farley knows.