The Volvo S80L model will be the official vehicle for VIPs during the ongoing Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu. Provided to China Daily
Though the business and political leaders attending this year's Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu on Thursday hail from different parts of the world, they will all get there the same way - a Volvo S80L.
Volvo won out over several top luxury brands to be the exclusive provider of VIP transportation for the event.
Volvo's participation in the forum will be greater than that of other car companies that had previously partnered with the event's organizing committee.
The company will co-host a roundtable discussion titled "the Future of Transportation" during which its executives will share their insights on sustainability as well as other issues, such as safety, the environment and smart mobility.
Volvo Chairman Li Shufu will represent the company in major activities of the forum. He will be joined by the auto group's global management team for discussions with other business leaders from around the world during the event.
One important reason Volvo won the bid to provide services for the event is that the auto brand shares much common ground with the Fortune Global Forum in terms of strategy.
The forum chose Chengdu as its venue, and Volvo selected the city as the location for its first Chinese production base, which is about to become operational.
Both see opportunities in Chengdu and recognize the strategic importance of the city in China's future.
Hakan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Car Group, said now is a time of rapid development for Volvo in the domestic market.
"Construction of the Chengdu plant is in the final stage. It demonstrates Volvo Cars' continued commitment to the development of China, particularly the southwestern region," Samuelsson said.
"We will be setting an excellent example for those global companies that are working to deepen their presence in China."
But the selection of Chengdu still comes as a surprise to many.
Previous Chinese hosts of the forum were Shanghai in 1999, Hong Kong in 2001 and Beijing in 2005, all of which are international metropolises.
As an up-and-coming city in relatively underdeveloped western China, Chengdu is somewhat different from the established coastal powers that hosted it before.
The city is a crucial component of the national western development strategy.
Statistics show that from 2005 to 2010, China's average annual economic growth rate was 11.2 percent. The rate was 13.6 percent in western China and 13.7 percent in Sichuan.
To a great extent, the future of China's western region largely relies on Chengdu.
The resilience of the city despite challenges it has faced throughout history is a characteristic shared with Volvo, which has also withstood the test of time.
Some 86 years after it was established, Volvo's brand has become synonymous with quality and safety worldwide.
While navigating the ups and downs of its development, Volvo's leadership has vowed to become a greater and more highly respected luxury brand.
Again, the notion is found in the forum's commitment to monitoring trends while envisioning the future.
Delwyn Gray, one of the organizers of the Chengdu forum, said development potential and trends are important factors for the forum when choosing a partner.
Volvo chose to partner with the forum not only because of its fame. The cooperation shows the carmaker's commitment to making China one of its most important markets.
Through this forum, Volvo will let the world see how it is placing faith in the Chinese market and growing stronger since its acquisition by Geely two years ago, the company's executives said.
Volvo's growth in the country got on the fast track in 2013.
In the first five months of this year, Volvo's sales in China totaled 22,905 units, up 26.9 percent annually, despite the sluggish market.
In May alone, it sold 4,415units, up24.4 percent annually, making China its largest market worldwide.
Volvo plans to introduce six new models to China to further enrich its portfolio.
With the S80L joining the lineup during the forum, Volvo is confident that it can achieve a breakthrough in the luxury executive sedan segment.
In the past 45 years, the Volvo S80 series has epitomized the essence of Scandinavian design. In its history, the series has seen several breakthroughs in engine and safety technology while refining its concepts and enhancing its luxury experience. This commitment to excellence has helped it to lead the development of the executive sedan segment, according to the company.
Innovative technologies and equipment adopted on current S80L include an inflatable curtain, a whiplash-prevention system, a GSM phone,adaptive cruise control with queue assist, a lane-departure warning as well as a collision warning with fully automatic braking and pedestrian sensors.
Volvo S80 has served as the exclusive VIP limousine for many important events, such as the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the Swedish royal wedding, the Dutch King's coronation, and BRICS summit.
On June 5, Volvo unveiled the 2014 S80L, an executive luxury sedan featuring additional amenities.
The exterior is a prime example of Scandinavian luxury. On top of a comprehensive upgrade to the rear seating, the new model also features the latest safety technologies, including the Interior Air Quality System and Clean Cabin, which allow for comprehensive human-centered safety and health protection.
Fu Qiang, president and CEO of Volvo Car China Distribution Company, said, "Chinese business leaders are beginning to take the global stage and we are seeing that at the Fortune Global Forum.
"Their globalization experience and vision means they are more adaptive to the simple but modern luxury experience, resonating with Volvo's safe, understated and cultivated brand advocacy. No doubt, Volvo S80L will help drive these leaders to greater success on the stage of the Fortune Global Forum." (From China Daily)