By on February 28, 2016

Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

The Environmental Protection Agency is pointing at its watch and glaring at Volkswagen.

That, an opening for the Swedes, an electric propulsion prediction, a high-end guy gets a new job, and Tesla gets targeted in Hoosierville … after the break!

Volkswagen TDI

Beware the (end) of March

According to Automotive News, the United States is getting impatient for Volkswagen AG to hatch a plan to fix close to 600,000 vehicles involved in the ongoing diesel emissions scandal.

A federal judge is giving the automaker until March 24 to show authorities how it will make the affected vehicles comply with strict EPA emissions laws.

With the clock ticking and engineers scrambling, VW’s oil burners have their builders over a barrel.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Fully-charged kind of life

The price of electric vehicles will match their gasoline-powered brethren in less than a decade, posits Bloomberg Business.

A study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance puts the price of both types of vehicle on par with each other by the mid-2020s.

Cheaper battery packs with longer, anxiety-lessening ranges are forecasted to create an explosion of EV sales in the coming decade, compared to the very modest sales they see today.

Outgoing Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann (Image: Lamborghini Automobili)

Audi bullish on new Quattro CEO

The Audi division that pumps out the automaker’s high-performing R and RS models is getting a high-octane boss.

Stephan Winkelmann, who served as president and CEO of Lamborghini for 11 years, is moving to head up the Quattro subsidiary of Lambo’s parent company. Filling the void left by Winkelmann’s departure will be former Ferrari Formula One team boss Stefano Domenicali.

Lamborghini’s profile — and sales — rose sharply under Winkelmann’s guidance, and they’re little doubt that Audi hopes he’ll do the same for their top-end product line.

Location Front Quarter Volvo S90 Mussel Blue

The future belongs to Volvo

The Swedish automaker sees itself at the brink of renewed relevance and prosperity, according to an Automotive News interview with Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson.

Growing demand for efficient gasoline and plug-in hybrid models in Europe and North America is changing the landscape on both sides of the Atlantic, he argued, and will position Volvo to gain market share and a better financial footing.

Recent models like the award-winning XC90 and imminent S90 line are the best evidence that Volvo wants to regain its status as a major player in the luxury import market.

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

Tesla’s fate put on hold in Indiana

Tesla fans in the Hoosier State raised a ruckus over plans to ban the sale of the company’s EVs, which could be the reason behind a delay in the state’s “Kill Tesla” bill, reports Hybrid Cars.

The protests raised national attention over the state’s attempt to block the sale of Tesla vehicles due to the company’s absence of physical dealerships.

With the proposed legislation now sent off to a committee for further study, Tesla has scored a year-long reprieve from the bureaucratic chopping block.

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47 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Clock Ticks at Volkswagen, CEO Switch and Volvo Sees a Chance...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    hey, you’re new here. no introduction?

  • avatar
    Asdf

    Volvo is a Chinese automaker, not a Swedish one!

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      But they build and develop cars in Sweden

      • 0 avatar
        Asdf

        That’s just because of historical reasons (Volvo used to be Swedish), and is not going to last much longer, since it’s a lot cheaper to build Volvos in China.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          No, they are expanding production and design facilities in Sweden. Cost is not part of it, Geeley is like TATA in India willing to put up the capital

          • 0 avatar
            Asdf

            That’s an extremely near-sighted view. One management change or a couple of quarters of red ink, and that’s the end of the alleged Swedish expansion, with production being moved to China to save money.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Far from Short sighted, they are building a plant in the US, opening 2018. Chinese factories do specific models, Malaysia does a range of models, Swedish factories do a range and the research is centred in Sweden. China is becoming less than friendly to manufacturing, a real meltdown happening at the moment

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “a real meltdown happening at the moment”

            RobertRyan, I think you are spot on! China is a mess.

            I recently read somewhere that China gave Brazil an enormous sum of money to prop up the Brazilian economy, ultimately leading to a ready market for Chinese-made goods, including cars, trucks and heavy equipment.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            We are seeing that meltdown here. Every quarterly report you see on Chinese manufacturing , shows dropping manufacturing. Now it is becoming more dramatic.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Americans and others in NA and Northern Europe have no clue as to how rapidly the global economy is cooling (and contracting in many formerly active, expanding places), because the financial press is doing its level best to prevent public loss of confidence in the economic growth myth.

            People in China, Brazil, Russia, southeast Asian nations, and commodity-dependent exporters are seeing the economy come to a screeching halt (or collision) in real time, however.

            The next manufacturing recession is either months away or already here, depending on what region one lives in, and is going global shortly.

        • 0 avatar
          Delta88

          bzzzzzzt. Try again. They are a Swedish company with Chinese ownership. Very different thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Asdf

            No, it’s a Chinese company with some operations still remaining in Sweden for historical reasons. That’s not going to last, obviously.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            It is not ” historical reasons” research and development in Sweden. Chinese manufacturing is contracting. Volvo building new factory in US, not China

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          They make one car in China for world consumption, the S60L, and that’s just because it was conceived primarily for the Chinese market, which likes long-wheelbase cars because owners prefer to be chauffeured.

          The rest of the cars are made in Sweden.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Agreed we need to stop pretending Saab is still Swedish, it’s no more Swedish than Fiat is Brazilian.

      It’s one thing if Volvo sold in respectable numbers and Geely was a niche player, but no, Geely is the big fish and Volvo is stuck building pretend premium vehicles with over worked 4 cylinders. If Geely tells Volvo to jump, their response is how high, not f off.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Hummer,
        You may be right on the how high to jump comment but I think your wrong on the warmed over 4 cylinders, if you said 5 CYl I would agree but Volvo’s 4 cylinders are all very recent is my understanding.

      • 0 avatar
        Steverino

        Is Dodge then English?

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I presume you meant Volvo and not Saab?

        By the same logic, Opel is American (or Chinese, depending who actually calls the shots at GM), Lamborghini is German, and so on. Is Nissan french or Japanese? Is Renault Japanese or French?

        It’s an interesting theoretical argument, but mostly pointless. Almost every Volvo landing on US shores is still designed and built in Sweden, and made with components from the usual European suppliers. Hard to say if they are more Chinese than Buick is.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Yes meant Volvo, had Saab on the mind I guess.

          I would go by where the money is coming from, obviously Volvo is incapable of existing on its own, else it would still be owned by the swedes. If, somehow Volvo and Geely split into seperate companies, who would be better of? Which would be more likely to exist in 15 years without a merger? I would say Geely without much hesitation, therefore, if Geely was hurting they would start cutting away at the weak. I don’t believe Volvo is worth much more than the badge to Geely so I don’t see much problem in them cannibalizing certain parts of the vehicle with cheaper equipment to boost profit.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I might agree with you, except for how development is handled.

            See, unlike Volvo’s tenure under Ford, where it benefitted from Ford’s European platforms and engines, Volvo develops its own resources under Geely. Geely, as it stands, largely acts as a financier. Aside from manufacturing some variants in China principally for the Chinese market, there has been nothing to suggest that Geely is interfering with the way Volvo would have been run if it were on its own. A similar arrangement exists for Jaguar and Land Rover, which are under Tata Motors of India.

            The contrast to that kind of arrangement, then, is the kind that BMW Group has with its child brands, Rolls-Royce and MINI, or that which Volkswagen Group has with Bentley and Lamborghini, which it owns. Rolls-Royces more or less *are* BMWs with British design and coachwork, from a composition standpoint. And Lamborghini makes full-use of Volkswagen Group’s corporate electronics architectures, platforms and interfaces. But…in order for a parent company to imbue its newly-acquired child brand with parts and electronics, that parent company has to *already* have world-class resources. Volkswagen and BMW (and Ford) do; Geely does not. There’s little sense in putting cheap engineering into a renowned brand just to run it into the ground. And Geely knows that.

            Besides, Volvo is worth much more to Geely than a badge. The Swedish company has years and decades’ worth of vehicular expertise, and lots of world-class industry experts on its teem. That’s not to mention the fact that Geely hasn’t owned Volvo that long. There’s a lot of unused, but valuable R&D (probably in safety research) that was paid for while Volvo was under Ford, and that Geely now owns. If Geely dismantles Volvo, it will be because Geely has mined engineering and development resources from Volvo and used those things to make its own cars better. It won’t be because Geely just wants to sell its own under-developed technology behind a recognized badge.

            So Volvo is Swedish.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            I guess time will tell.

            I just read that the most popular version of the XC90 in Europe is the 400 hp hybrid AWD, which means that Volvo has made some significant gains in the German-dominated premium segment.

            Obviously, the XC60/S60 replacement will be key. If it’s a success, then they are laughing all the way to the bank.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            I’ll split the difference: Volvo is Swedish when car sales are healthy, and Chinese when things get tougher.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          I don’t know what percentage of the total Volvo sales S60 sales are in the US.

          But they are made in Ghent, Belgium, not Sweden. Volvos have been made there for decades, starting with the 340 series.

          If it reallly matters.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            The long-wheelbase S60 is known as S60L in most other countries, but here in the United States, it comes only in the loaded Inscription trim, so it’s called the S60 Inscription here. The S60L is made in China. But that’s one model that was designed first and foremost for the Chinese market and will make most of its sales in that country…so it makes sense to build it there.

            Every S60L/S60 Inscription has a VIN that begins with L, indicating that it was made in China. Like so: https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/657429368/overview/

      • 0 avatar
        motormouth

        Fiat sells more cars in Brazil than Italy. It’s been there so long that it’s considered a national brand – in that there are no actual ‘national’ Brazilian carmakers.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      You say that like it’s a bad thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      The Sales Manager at the local Volvo dealership, with a straight face, told me Volvo is owned by a Japanese company. I’m sure he knows better. I find it interesting that he is, apparently, not willing to admit to the Chinese ownership.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    There’s a fairly substantial misrepresentation being made here about the VW situation. The linked article has nothing to do with the EPA’s case against VW. The judge in question is District Judge Charles Breyer, who is adjudicating the class action suit between consumers and VW. He literally has zero legal authority to compel VW to come up with a solution, let alone a deadline for it. What he has told them is that he wants to hear that the EPA and VW have come to a resolution by March 24th so that the civil case can proceed. Without VW and the EPA having arrived at a solution it will be impossible to determine what the impact of that solution is, and consequently what the actual damages in the case would be.

  • avatar

    That thing with the VW insignia: are they resurrecting the Routan?

    I much prefer the format where you can click once for all the news items, instead of having to click again for each one.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Beware the ides of March, VAG. If you don’t have a solution soon you’re going to be on: double secret probation!

    “Volvo wants to regain its status as a major player in the luxury import market.”

    When was that? Oh yes, never.

    Volvo was Swedish Oldsmobuick, then it became Swedish BL. “Major player” and “luxury” are not synonymous with the marque, but I could see the brand expanding with continued Chinese yuan infusion (which I suspect was the Geely trojan horse plan).

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      There are certain brands that are now positioned as Premium that I just can’t take seriously as Premium – Volvo, Acura, Infiniti, and Buick are all good examples of this(to me).

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        As a long time Volvo customer I always thought of Volvos as being a sort of Scandinavian Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        Acura and Infiniti always were positioned as “premium,” it’s just that over the years the mass-market brand (Honda and Nissan, respectively) has gained the features and much of the refinement that used to be the domain of luxury cars.

        Buick, on the other hand, is only still around because of China. It existed solely because of the Sloan model (which is more or less obsolete) but it soldiers on because if it was dropped here, it would lose prestige in China. So on it goes.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I kinda wish we could seperate Luxury and Premium denominations, luxury, to me is a hand built car from Ye Olde England, premium is a car that carries a higher price tag but is built the same way as the Fiat 500 several hundred km away.
    One of these is not like the other.

  • avatar
    motormouth

    Volvo is no more Chinese than JLR is Indian (TATA). An mentioned in another post the money is delivered from the owners, but they’re largely hands off so as to retain the valuable heritage links with the respective home markets.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      It is interesting that in order to sell Chinese cars outside of China, the Chinese manufacturers need to pretend the cars are not really Chinese.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        They aren’t Chinese. All of the development takes place in Sweden, and most of the cars are built in Europe. All Geely does is own and finance Volvo; it doesn’t really control the brand or intervene on its R&D structure.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    New Volvos in the showroom look and feel enough like my 20 year old one that I really don’t care who owns the company…if I have a good sales year, I’d love to put a new V90 in my garage. We just leased a Canadian-built Honda CR-V, don’t care which plant it came out of, as long as it’s reliable for the next 3 years. Automakers are multi-national conglomerates, and where the owners are based is irrelevant to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      The Chinese ownership of Volvo hasn’t stopped me from buying four new Volvos since 2011. I agree it should not matter who owns the company. However, I do believe it does matter which factory produces the cars I drive. In my limited experience, with Volvo, I have found the vehicles (I have owned) built in Sweden have fewer fit and finish problems than than those (again, that I have owned) built in Belgium. I don’t know what to think of the S60L’s that are built in China. I’ve had a close look at one, but I have not had a chance to drive one (or to own one). Admittedly, I would have difficulty trusting the quality of such a vehicle. Given that I can still choose to buy one that is made in Sweden, I’d rather not buy one that is made in China (or Belgium, or at the supposed future USA factory).


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