Volvo is hoping to turn the economic downturn to its advantage by repositioning itself as a premium alternative to German rivals BMW and Audi.
The Swedish firm’s chief operating officer Steven Armstrong said he believes Volvo is a more socially acceptable product at a time when wealthy car owners do not want to be seen as showing off their prosperity.
"We have a real opportunity for Volvo with respect to premium positioning," he said. "As people cut back, it becomes a little less acceptable to flaunt your money.
"Buyers who still want to reward themselves but don't want to be ostentatious give us a great opportunity.”
European Volvo sales were down by 31 per cent in 2008 and its owner Ford is currently looking into selling the firm.