Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has announced that Henrik Green has been appointed Senior Vice President Research & Development.

Mr Green, 43, currently Senior Vice President Sales and Production Planning & Customer Service, replaces Peter Mertens, who recently decided to leave Volvo Cars to take up a new position with Audi, the German carmaker.

Mr Green has extensive experience in research and development, powertrain development and other advanced areas of engineering such as software and control systems. He was also one of the leading figures behind Volvo Cars’ decision to move to using only four- and three-cylinder engines, a decision that has been matched by other carmakers since.

His appointment comes on the back of a long and distinguished career within Volvo Cars since joining the company in 1996, embracing several senior management positions within R&D and product strategy in both Sweden and China.

“There has never been a more exciting time to work in automotive research and development and there has never been a more exciting time to do so at Volvo. The industry is changing and I intend to make sure that Volvo leads that change,” said Mr Green.

Mr Green inherits control of Volvo’s highly-successful 6,500-strong global R&D department, which has overseen a complete transformation of Volvo Cars’ technical operations since the company was acquired by Zhejiang Geely Holding of China in 2010.

This transformation includes the introduction and launch of its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) modular vehicle architecture, its Drive-E modular engine architecture and numerous groundbreaking new safety, connectivity and infotainment technologies.

“Henrik is ideally qualified to lead our team of highly talented engineers around the world as we enter the second phase of Volvo’s transformation,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive.

With the recent introduction of the V90 Cross Country premium estate, Volvo completed the launch of a completely new 90 series line-up. These new cars have highlighted the transformational effect of the SPA architecture in terms of design, technology and brand, a feat underlined by the over 120 awards won by the XC90 SUV.

In the coming years Volvo Cars will continue to replace its entire model range, including a new 40 series vehicle range based on a second modular vehicle architecture named CMA. It will also continue to enhance its position as an industry leader in safety and autonomous drive technologies.

Volvo Cars also last year announced one of the automotive industry’s most comprehensive electrification strategies in which plug-in hybrids will be introduced across its entire range.

It will offer at least two hybrid versions of every model in its range and introduce its first fully electric car by 2019. By 2025, Volvo aims to have sold a cumulative total of up to 1 million electrified cars.