Frank Lopez to Oversee Volvo Rents' Hispanic Entrepreneur Outreach

March 20, 2008 // Franchising.com // - ASHEVILLE, N.C – Volvo Rents, a division of Volvo Construction Equipment, is pleased to announce that Frank Lopez, former president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USHCC), has been retained by Volvo Rents to oversee the company's Hispanic franchise business development strategy in the U.S.

Lopez's association with Volvo Rents marks the company's first formal initiative to promote franchise opportunities to Hispanic entrepreneurs. During his tenure with the USHCC Foundation, Lopez was instrumental in driving strategic policy development designed to benefit USHCC's constituents. He pursued an aggressive and targeted national campaign that ensured the successful advancement of Latino entrepreneurship, and Latino-focused small business policy and research.

"Frank's passion to advance the cause of diverse populations – particularly the Hispanic population – matches our desire to cultivate diverse entrepreneurs," said Nick Mavrick, vice president of marketing for Volvo Rents. "We look forward to having Frank as part of our team."

In addition to attracting Hispanic entrepreneurs to the franchise program, Lopez will work with Volvo Rents' team to establish relationships with Hispanic trade and industry associations in the U.S; achieve supplier diversity; and attract Hispanic and minority skilled laborers to franchise positions.

"Volvo Rents' commitment to diversity is honorable, and I hope to increase the company's presence and credibility within the Hispanic and other minority business communities," Lopez said. "I think there is a significant cadre of entrepreneurs who happen to be Hispanic who can take advantage of the Volvo Rents franchise program."

Despite reports of markets trending downward, subprime loans defaulting and a slowdown in the construction industry, experts predict the trend will be short-lived. Tim Walters of InfoTech Marketing, a Colorado-based firm specializing in the construction industry, recently told attendees at Volvo Rents' annual franchise convention to remain positive through 2008, as 2009 looks like a growth year across all segments of the construction industry.

"Housing will be off by 8.3 percent to offset non-housing growth of 3.7 percent in 2008," Walters said. But after this year, he said, numbers begin to reverse for a healthier 2009. "We can expect a 6.6 percent rebound in 2009 as housing leads a recovery. Housing should grow by 11.9 percent while commercial construction grows by a steady 3.6 percent."

All Volvo Rents centers are independently owned and operated. The Volvo Rents franchise program covers all aspects of an operating business model. In addition to the use of the world-renowned Volvo brand, qualified franchisees are eligible for Volvo's comprehensive financial package that includes fleet financing, working capital, delivery vehicle financing and leasehold improvement financing. The amount of financing for qualified applicants can be significant, and averaging between $4 million and $5 million per store. Applicants generally need a liquid net worth of at least $750,000 per store to qualify for the financing.

To learn more about Volvo Rents, visit www.volvorents.com.

About Volvo Rents & Volvo CE

Based in Asheville, N.C., Volvo Rents is a division of Volvo Construction Equipment, the third largest construction equipment manufacturer in the world. Volvo Rents operates 79 rental stores in North America, 66 rental stores in Europe and one in Mexico. Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is a major international company developing, manufacturing and marketing equipment for construction and related industries. Its products, leaders in many world markets, include a comprehensive range of wheel loaders, hydraulic excavators, articulated haulers, motor graders and compact equipment. Volvo CE is part of the Volvo Group, the world's largest manufacturer of diesel engines in the 9 to 18 liter category. The Volvo Group is one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services. The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and related services. Volvo Group is a publicly held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. With 2006 sales of approximately $34 billion, Volvo's business areas include heavy trucks, buses, construction equipment, marine and industrial drive systems, aerospace and financial services. In the United States, Volvo shares are listed on NASDAQ and are traded as ADRs (symbol: VOLV).

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