Introduced amid great fanfare last May, the Volvo XC90 is one of the most advanced SUVs on the road today, and the most high-end Volvo of all time. Although the original Volvo XC90 was extremely popular, the new, upgraded model has taken its success to a new level, with its exceptional design and luxurious feel making it an instant hit with customers around the world.

Anders Svensson, VP Supplier Quality and Logistics at Volvo Car Group, agrees that it has lived up to – and exceeded – everyone’s expectations.

“The Volvo XC90 represents a major leap in terms of luxury design and features, representing a huge boost for our brand in the premium customer segment,” he says.

Last year, Volvo Car Group posted its highest sales of all time, selling a total of 503,000 cars, of which 41,000 were Volvo XC90s. The company also broke its record for exports out of Sweden. One of the models with the highest number exported was the Volvo XC90, with 39,000 cars leaving the factory in Torslanda bound for destinations such as the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

With this many cars sold across the globe, the importance of an efficient outbound supply chain cannot be overstated.

“When a new car is launched, customers and resellers want it as soon as possible, and they expect it to be delivered in the same state as when it left our factory,” Svensson says.

Another fundamental success factor for a high-profile launch such as this one is the ability to ship large volumes around the world in a short amount of time.

“We need outbound supply chain partners who can provide high sailing frequency and carry large volumes when needed,” Svensson says. “Quality is incredibly important, and it goes without saying that punctuality is non-negotiable.”

While most Volvo cars are still manufactured in Sweden, Volvo Car Group is in the process of expanding its industrial footprint. With three factories already up and running in China, it plans to open an all-new facility in the United States – a move that will make an efficient global supply chain even more essential to its business in the coming years.

“We intend to optimise our global manufacturing capacity so that any plant could effectively produce cars for the market where demand is highest,” Svensson says. “For example, a U.S. factory might make cars for export to Europe, or vice versa.”

Another trend that is set to impact Volvo Car Group is the continuing growth of hybrid and electric vehicles. Svensson says all new Volvo cars will be available as hybrids, and the first fully battery-driven Volvos will be launched in 2019.

“We’re fully committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products by moving towards electrification,” he says. “It’s our stated ambition to have sold one million electric cars by 2025.”