We wanted to share with you an amazing program available to the DC embassy community for purchasing automobiles. Many people we have spoken with are unaware of this program and it doesn't just apply to foreign embassy staff and diplomats but also military personnel, ex-pats and international students studying in the United States. We sat down for a question and answer session about this program with Matthew Ferris of the Don Beyer Automotive Group in Virginia.
What are the biggest benefits of the program?
The pricing offered through the program and the ability to order a car that you can take back to your home country. Diplomats living here often buy cars with right-hand drive or diesel engines that aren’t sold in US stores, but are ideal for them when they go home. US diplomats living abroad often buy US specification cars that they bring back to America and use when they return home. There is also the possibility of custom duties and tax exemption in the country where they are assigned and in their home country.
Who are the customers you work with most often?
We work with diplomats and diplomatic organizations. Diplomatic organizations can use the program to purchase cars for official use, but most of our customers are diplomats. They are either in America on assignment from a foreign country or are US diplomats preparing to go overseas or to come home. They work with us to buy local specification cars for use on assignment or cars of their home country specification that they can take home with them. You can actually buy one car through the program every year and a small group of people will buy a car of local specification at the outset of their tour and another that they can take home at the end of their tour.
However, Volvo and Don Beyer Volvo actually operate a few different programs--for diplomats, military personnel, expats, and international students. All of the programs have their own amazing benefits. For example, Volvo helps international students lease a car while they are studying in America, which is a big benefit. Most of those students can’t buy or lease a car because they don’t have credit history. Volvo takes care of that issue for them.
Which are your most popular cars for diplomats?
The XC 90 and S 90 are the cars that most diplomatic organizations choose as official cars. The XC 90 was the most popular for individuals last year, but I think the XC 60 will overtake it this year given the updates. People from many countries prefer a smaller car when they think about a car that they can take home. We also sell a lot of cars that most consumers can’t buy here. We sell diesels, right-hand drive, etc. through the diplomatic program that aren’t even available in America.
How did you find yourself managing the Diplomatic program for Volvo?
I grew up in the DC area and have lived many other places, but I have always come back. I moved back here a year ago after spending five years teaching in China, Korea, and Vietnam. I fell into the car business after coming home, sold cars with the Beyer Auto Group for a year, and jumped at the opportunity to combine my international experience with my car experience when I heard about the Diplomatic Sales Manager position. It’s been great to be connected to the diplomatic community.
What are the latest developments at Volvo?
It’s a company that focuses on three things: safety, quality, and the environment, which makes a lot of sense to me. Those are values people really care about when they buy a car. Will the car keep my family safe? Will the car look and feel amazing? Will the car push for greater fuel efficiency and to be less of an impact on the environment we all depend on? Volvo cars are 85% recyclable. I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to be a part of a car company that holds those values.
The XC 90 was a huge hit over the last year. You will hear a lot of people mention the fact that it is the most awarded SUV of the century. It won awards for the engine, safety, interior, user interface, etc. The XC 60 is getting those updates and more this year and launches in the fall. I think it will be just as big of a hit.
The 2018 XC60 and S90 just hit our stores, which is something everyone even remotely interested in Volvo vehicles has been anticipating. The 2018 XC60, which is already winning awards, is completely refreshed with all of the new Sensus technology, more safety features, etc. The S90 has another four inches of legroom, which makes it an even more amazing official car for diplomatic organizations. These two are going to get a lot of attention just like XC90 did over the past year as it became the most awarded SUV of the century.
For more information on the program and how you can purchase a vehicle contact Matthew Ferris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-615-8954