Volvo Cars made official on Tuesday something CEO Hakan Samuelsson revealed in December: the auto maker wants to be an electric-only brand by 2030.
Samuelsson said Volvo expects to benefit as much from its intensified emphasis on sustainability as it has from its long-term commitment to vehicle safety.
"That has made us more profitable," Samuelsson said during a roundtable discussion with journalists prior to the March 2 announcements. "Why should we see this development as something negative? We see it as an opportunity."
Samuelsson foresees Volvo selling its last gasoline-electric hybrid in 2029 and expects its final diesel model to be sold well before that, but he couldn't pinpoint an exact year.
Diesels are no longer offered in Volvo's compact model line, which includes its global best-seller, the XC40, or in the U.S.-built S60 premium midsize sedan. In addition, Volvo, which is owned by China's Geely Auto, said diesels will no longer be offered when it launches or redesigns a new vehicle.
If the auto maker continues to follow a seven-year vehicle life cycle, diesels could be out of the lineup by the middle of the decade, which it when Volvo wants full-electric models to account for half of global sales.
All of those EVs will be only be available to purchase at the auto maker's flagship online store, volvocars.com, the auto maker said in a separate statement.
When asked what this means to Volvo's global retail network, Lex Kerssemakers, head of global commercial operations, said no closures are planned.
"We have 2,400 retail partners who have invested with us over the last 10 years—in the brand, in people, in facilities. We believe we will build up a strong online system, they have built up a strong offline system, and they need to work flawlessly together," Kerssemakers said.
Added Samuelsson: "This is about building a custom relationship together with our dealers. There is no need to close any of them."
Kerssemakers said the key changes will be that there will be no more bargaining on price because it will be set by Volvo and vehicles will be delivered much faster. That is because Volvo plans to radically reduce complexity in its product offer, focusing on pre-configured electric models.