• Company's annual deliveries exceed 500,000 cars for first time
  • Sales surge 24% in U.S., 11% in Europe as XC90 SUV rolled out

Volvo Car Group predicted its third consecutive record in annual auto sales in 2016 as the Swedish company adds to its lineup of premium vehicles targeting American consumers.

Buoyed by the new XC90 sport utility vehicle, deliveries reached a new high last year, rising 8 percent to 503,127 vehicles, Gothenburg-based Volvo Cars said Friday in a statement. It was the first time the 89-year-old automaker has breached the half-million sales mark in one year.

The company, owned by Chinese billionaire Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., is retooling its lineup to compete with leading luxury-car makers including BMW AG. It’s counting on growing demand for premium models in the U.S., where it’s planning to build a car factory, to propel sales gains. The Swedish company is presenting the S90 sedan to the public for the first time next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and it said Friday that the entire model range will be renewed in four years.

“Volvo is about to enter the second phase of its global transformation,” Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson said in the statement. “Once completed, Volvo will have ceased being a minor automotive player and taken its position as a truly global premium car company.”

Demand last year jumped 24 percent in the U.S. and 11 percent in Europe and ended unchanged in China after an 11 percent gain in the fourth quarter. “These upward sales trends are expected to continue in 2016,” Volvo said. The company reiterated a medium-term goal of selling 800,000 cars a year. While China’s car market in 2015 was “challenging,” the automaker said it expects to continue expanding there over time.

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