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BS People: Tomas Ernberg, MD, Volvo India

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Swedish luxury car maker Volvo sold 130 cars in the Indian market last year, three years since it first set up shop in the country. The growth rate for the company has perhaps been slow in the world’s second fastest growing automobile market. But globally, the company had to battle out the financial crisis and rejig operations to achieve sustainable profitability.

Tomas ErnbergBack now on firmer footing, and with a new managing director, Tomas Ernberg who is heading operations in India, the company is planning to triple sales to around 500 units this year. Ernberg, a Swede born in Spain, admits that the going has been slow. He is, however, confident, about the strength of the “foundation” which has been laid by Volvo. “We know which products we will introduce in the Indian market, which are the segments we will enter. Volvo worldwide is expecting to record sales of 800,000 units by the end of the decade. India will contribute significantly to that growth story.”

Consequently, Ernberg is planning to double the number of sales outlets Volvo has in the country to 14 over the next two year. There are plans to introduce corporate editions of sedans S60 and S80 to drive volumes. Ernberg has been with Volvo with 17 years and says there is a renewed focus of the management in Sweden on the company’s operations here.

Ernberg has not seen much of India yet but the man who has lived across countries in Africa, Latin America, Europe and south-east Asia, says he finds India’s diversity fascinating. An avid tennis player Ernberg loves travelling and can speak in a host of languages including Swedish, English, Turkish, Spanish and Arabic. Prior to his India gig, Ernberg was regional managing director for Volvo based out of Dubai. He oversaw operation s in 13 markets in West Asia and North Africa for the company.