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Volvo’s remanufacturing success story

Sweden – ‘Remanufacturing is a huge part of our sustainable business model,’ said research specialist Axel Edh, of Volvo Car Group at the annual Circular Materials Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden. ‘It fits our heritage; we started working with used parts in 1945. This includes anything from the engine and gearboxes to the car radio,’ he added.

The self-proclaimed ‘human-centric’ car company is essentially striving to optimise the life-cycles of its vehicles while protecting the Earth’s resources. For instance, Volvo is working towards boosting the amount of recycled non-metallic materials in its cars and reducing the quantity of virgin materials. ‘Approximately 95% of the materials in our cars can be recovered and 85% can be recycled,’ Edh stated.

‘This Spring, we launched our own sustainability programme “Omtanke” – which basically means ‘to think again’ – and is about re-thinking the much used term sustainability so it will go beyond merely our operations and the cars we make,’ Edh told delegates at Chalmers University.

The impact of spare parts

Volvo’s remanufacturing activities saw to it that over 1000 tonnes of metal were ‘saved’ last year, of which 780 tonnes were steel and 300 tonnes were aluminium. The Volvo Exchange System currently covers 46 different spare parts.

According to Edh, some 15% of Volvo Cars’ spare part sales consist of parts from the Volvo Cars Exchange System. He stressed that a remanufactured part requires 85% less raw materials than standard parts.

Focus on e-mobility

The carmaker is ‘proud’ to be ‘moving in the right direction’, Edh told the audience. As such, it has set its sights on being ‘at the forefront’ of sustainable product development. ‘And sustainable is synonymous with innovative,’ he suggested. This has led Volvo to declare a new goal for e-mobility, namely to put one million electronic cars (both plug-in and hybrid) on the road by 2025.

At the time of writing, Volvo has enjoyed fourteen months of consecutive sales growth. In July alone, Volvo’s sales surged 9.3%, representing 41 681 vehicles sold – mostly in America, China and Sweden.

Delegates learned that a total of 180 000 vehicles reach end-of-life stage in Sweden every single year.

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