Volvo Puts Global Creative Account in Review

North American Incumbent Euro RSCG Expected to Participate

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo Car Corp. is putting its global creative account into review, according to executives familiar with the matter.
Hans Krondahl, Volvo's exec VP-marketing in North America
Hans Krondahl, Volvo's exec VP-marketing in North America

The Swedish automaker has long been a strong seller for Ford but of late has run into problems ranging from an aging model lineup and high fuel prices to a weak dollar, which cuts profits out of European exports.

Roth Associates, New York, is handling the review, according to knowledgeable executives. The consultant referred calls to Volvo.

Euro RSCG
Havas' Euro RSCG Worldwide has had Volvo's creative U.S. account since 1991. The agency has a small office in Irvine, Calif., near Volvo's U.S. headquarters, but the bulk of the account is handled out of New York. The agency formed Fuel North America after its fall 1998 win of Volvo's lucrative U.S. regional dealer account and then landed portions of Volvo Car Corp.'s estimated $150 million global account in 2000.

Outside of the U.S., Euro is one of multiple agencies that work for Volvo. Via its Fuel agency in London, Euro creates work for the international market; other agencies developing creative in local markets include AMV BBDO in the U.K., Gramm in Germany, and Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg, in Sweden, the automaker's hometown.

Euro is expected to take part in the review but was unavailable for comment.

Unaware of any review
Hans Krondahl, exec VP-marketing in North America in Irvine, Calif., did not return calls for comment. Tim Ellis, global advertising director in Sweden said via e-mail he could not discuss the matter today. John Maloney, VP-marketing, Volvo North America, said he was unaware of any review, though when asked how safe the North American incumbent was, he replied, "How safe is any ad agency?"

Reasons for the review, according to knowledgeable executives, include a new CEO, Frederick Arp, at Volvo's headquarters; slowing sales in the key U.S. market, and a desire by executives at the company's global headquarters for a global campaign.

The nameplate reported its U.S. vehicle sales through November are off by 6% to 107,282 units despite a 14% jump in sales last month, compared to last year. It plans to launch seven new models or versions over the next four years, including a two-door compact and a sportier version of its popular S80 sedan.

European Premier Automotive Group
Volvo is part of Ford's European Premier Automotive Group, which also includes Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.

The automaker spent $65 million in measured media in North America for the first nine months of 2006 and $71 million in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence.