Volvo Cars high-end drive pays off in 2015 profits

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Stockholm (AFP)

Swedish carmaker Volvo, owned by the Chinese Geely group, said on Thursday that its five-year transformation into a premium player had paid off with a massive increase in net profits.

Net profit jumped nearly nine-fold to 4.48 billion kronor (475 million euros, $527 million) in 2015.

Turnover was up 19 percent on the back of record unit sales of 503,127, up 8 percent from 2014.

"We had to make bold decisions in the last few years -- that was a necessity -- by investing to have new vehicles, new motors, new platforms," chief executive Haakan Samuelsson told AFP on the margins of the automaker's results presentation.

"Most of these investments are behind us. Now we will grow further," he said.

For 2016, Volvo said it expects a further increase in sales, despite the Chinese economic slowdown.

Samuelsson said Volvo was now "less dependent than others on the overall conditions on the automobile market".

Volvo Cars, which makes no secret of its ambition to compete head-on with leading global high-end brands Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, said it raised its staff numbers by 8 percent in 2015, to 28,100.