Volvo Forms U.S. Captive Finance Arm
Volvo Car Financial Services to start operations later this year
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Feb. 5, 2012) - Volvo Cars of North America today announced the establishment of Volvo Car Financial Services (VCFS), which will begin providing Volvo retailers in all 50 states with a variety of financial services products later this year.
VCFS is the fulfillment of a promise made by Volvo to its U.S. retailers as a key component to the car company's growth strategy in America. Part of that growth strategy has included the introduction of new award-winning models like the XC60 crossover and S60 sports sedan.
"Launching a true captive finance arm is the most important step we will make this year to support our dealer network and customers," said John Maloney, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. "This is a key initiative in our long-term growth plan. We expect to have the commercial loan products available within six months and the consumer loan and lease products available before the end of the year."
VCFS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volvo Car Corp. and will be based in Rockleigh, N.J. It will employ a team of financial services sales representatives to directly support retailers in providing customers with a luxury financing experience. Products will include retail financing and leasing on both new and pre-owned Volvo vehicles. The programs offered will represent both financing at standard market rates and promotional offers supported by Volvo Cars of North America.
VCFS will enter into a long-term relationship with Bank of America to provide funding for its financing products, making it the only U.S. automotive luxury captive finance arm with a bank-sourced funding model. VCFS and Bank of America have a framework agreement with final contracts to be executed in the upcoming weeks. In addition, BofA Merrill Lynch will become an exclusive provider for certain VCFS automotive loan and lease securitizations in the United States.
In addition to funding, VCFS will license Bank of America's proprietary underwriting and risk-based pricing technology to support the credit process. VCFS will have its own separate credit policy and credit staff.
"Volvo now will offer a highly competitively priced captive loan and lease product for Volvo customers, and we're glad to back that up with our experience and expertise," said John Hyatt, president, Bank of America Dealer Financial Services. "Our solutions aren't one-size-fits-all at Bank of America. We are thrilled to help Volvo reach this milestone through our customized and flexible funding model."
While VCFS will originate and fund retailers directly on contracted retail and leasing products, the servicing of contracts will be managed by CenterOne Financial Services LLC. CenterOne is a leading servicing provider in the automotive financing industry and has earned a STRONG rating from Standard & Poor's as a consumer finance, automobile loan and lease servicer every year since 2004.
"Rather than re-create our own loan and lease servicing organization, we decided to leverage CenterOne's world-class servicing platform while maintaining a Volvo-branded customer experience," said Tony Nicolosi, president of Volvo Car Financial Services.
With more than three decades in the automotive industry, CenterOne, a division of World Omni Financial Corp., is one of the nation's largest third-party automobile lease and loan servicing organizations.
"We look forward to this opportunity to lend our experience in captive finance and provide premier third-party servicing to Volvo Car Financial Services," said Brent Sergot, vice president and general manager, CenterOne. "Our companies share common values - to maintain the highest standards and link great customers with great customer service."
"I call this a 'win-win-win' arrangement," said Nicolosi. "VCFS is a win for Volvo customers because it will be an organization committed to providing a best-in-class ownership experience; it's a win for our retailers who will be able to offer their customers a complete captive solution for their financing needs; and it's a win for us because it will lead to higher customer satisfaction and increased sales volume."
Along with consumer financing, VCFS, working with Bank of America, will provide Volvo retailers with co-branded commercial financing products such as inventory floor plan, working capital loans and real estate loans.
"Bank of America already is a leading provider of commercial products for Volvo retailers, and with an enhanced captive product offer, we anticipate providing floor plan loans to a majority of our U.S. Volvo dealers," Nicolosi said.
Telefonica Celebrates Hat-Trick After Tight Finish
Team Telefónica clinched their third victory from three legs in the Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday, as less than nine hours separated the top five teams at the finish of the 3,051 nautical mile (nm) second stage of Leg 3 from the Maldives to Sanya in China.
Telefónica, the overall race leaders, crossed the line at 03:58:22 UTC, finishing the second stage in 12 days 19 hours 58 minutes 21 seconds to take 24 points and become the first boat since Peter Blake's Steinlager 2 in 1989-90 to sweep the first three legs.
Groupama sailing team came in second, giving them 20 points, while CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand took the third podium place and 16 points.
PUMA Ocean Racing picked up 12 points for fourth, with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing coming in fifth and taking eight points.
Telefónica navigator Andrew Cape said the second stage of Leg 3 had been full of challenges and one of the most difficult he had ever experienced.
“It’s one of the toughest legs I’ve done,” he said. “Mentally it was very difficult, tactically very difficult. Physically it wasn’t as tough as a long southern ocean leg but mentally it was really hard."
“I’m feeling really exhausted and I just want to have a beer.”
Telefónica’s third consecutive leg win extended their overall lead to 15 points over Chris Nicholson’s CAMPER.
Franck Cammas’ Groupama, who crossed the line at 05:45:25 UTC after 12 days 21 hours 45 minutes 24 seconds at sea, remain third overall but are now within nine points of CAMPER.
Cammas said the final part of the second stage of the leg had been punishing for the French crew.
“We had many manoeuvres all the time. In the last 48 hours we did 24 tacks and each tack on a Volvo Open 70 is very hard. All the crew have to be awake.
“The fight was very good with the others. I think Telefónica is very fast in these conditions, so all the time they gain a little bit in distance because of their speed.
“It was a good opportunity to test our boat with Telefónica and the leading boats. We improved a lot in the tuning of Groupama so it was very good for us.”
CAMPER finished at 07:28:24 UTC with an elapsed time of 12 days 23 hours 28 minutes 23 seconds.
Skipper Chris Nicholson confessed to being disappointed with third place after a tactical call in the Malacca Strait saw them lose touch with the leaders.
“We thought and expected to do better than third to be honest but it’s a difficult race we’re entered into with the best professional teams in the world,” he said.
“We got on the wrong side of a thunderstorm in the Malacca Strait. The other guys went to the Indonesian shore line and we couldn’t get there.
“That was pretty much the ball game there and then.
“We left the Singapore Strait in fifth so we’re happy to have got back to third. We thought we were a lot better than fifth. To finish third is good, it’s a good positive for us to finish on.
Nicholson said his team were looking forward to some rest but would continue to work on improving their performance for the remainder of the race.
“There’s still a lot of thought required about how we can start winning legs," he said. “We’re able to match the leaders at certain periods of the race and then we kind of let ourselves down occasionally.
“We just have to keep working on that, go back to the designer, see if there’s anything more in regards to how we’re sailing the boat.
"We hope to rest up a bit now. It’s been a big exercise in sailing and logistics so a big rest up here is in order so we can come out with good training and attitude for the in-port race.”
Ken Read’s PUMA Ocean racing powered by BERG crossed the Sanya finish line at 08:29:13 UTC having taken 13 days 29 minutes 13 seconds.
They remain in fourth overall with 48 points.
Skipper Ken Read said the key moment of the second stage of the leg had been their breakaway move out to the east in the final few days.
“I think, the whole world knows our most defining moment was choosing an easterly course on the last bit from the Malacca Strait to Sanya,” he said.
“It didn’t work and I put my hand up for that. At the end of the day that’s my call. I have to look at myself in the mirror over these decisions.
“We have to sit down and figure out better ways to handle these situations. I’m not in anyway going to turn my back on these decisions, but at the same time we take calculated risks.
“But instead of just saying screw it and quitting, we bowed back into it got back ahead of Abu Dhabi and shouting distance of CAMPER.
“Net loss one boat in that whole debacle, so we have to take that for what it is and live to fight another day.”
Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing closed out the top five, finishing at 11:05:06 UTC after 13 days three hours nine minutes and 59 seconds of racing.
Walker said that other than in the Malacca Strait there had been few tactical options during the second stage of Leg 3.
“Certainly in the first week and in the last few days there has been a lot of straight line and boat speed sailing,” he said.
“A lot of light wind and up wind. We just crossed the miles off and we are glad to be here.
“The Malacca Strait is always busy although this time it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. We had one hard night along the Vietnamese coast with a succession of tacks, but other than that I would say it was relatively easy on the bodies.
“The margins are very small. The difference between us and Telefónica is one or two per cent.
“We sailed pretty well, we just didn’t have the legs to keep up with the leaders.”
Despite having had to deal with a problem with their winches earlier today, Mike Sanderson’s Team Sanya remained on track to finish the second stage of Leg 3 tomorrow February 5.
Volvo S60 and V60 get five star safety ratings in Europe and the United States
Volvo Car Corporation's safety leadership is once again confirmed by full star results on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Volvo V60 received five stars and is named best car in the Large Family category in the 2011 Euro-NCAP rating.
In the United States, the Volvo S60 achieved an overall five star NHTSA crash test rating.
"It is very good news that our aim to offer customers the safest cars on the market is confirmed by several independent evaluations on different continents. However, this is just part of the complete picture of a car model's real life safety performance and the effort we dedicate to offering customers world-leading safety," says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Car Corporation.
In addition to being the top achiever in the Euro-NCAP Large Car Family category, the Volvo V60 was also rewarded for the low-speed collision avoidance system City Safety.
Outstanding European car in the United States
In the United States, the S60 was rewarded with an overall five stars in the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) 5-Star Safety Ratings, also known as US-NCAP (New Car Assessment Program). The S60 was the only car that got five stars in each of the three crash tests (frontal, side pole and side barrier) - and it also received a five-star rollover rating.
The S60 is currently the only European luxury car in the U.S. that has these top NHTSA ratings, an IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick, and is available with all of the active safety technologies recommended by NHTSA.
More groundbreaking news in Geneva
"Volvo is leading the development of spearhead technology that helps the driver avoid collisions. All features are designed around the driver, helping him or her to stay alert and well informed to avoid collisions and dangerous situations," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO at Volvo Car Corporation. He concludes:
"At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, we will confirm this leadership by revealing new groundbreaking safety technologies."