After surviving a very rough patch that could have easily sunk it for good, Volvo is feeling confident enough to be boastful, albeit in a restrained, Scandinavian way.
The Swedish automaker is riding high after posting record worldwide sales last year, and its CEO claims the groundwork is in place to have that trend continue in 2017 and beyond. Part of that optimism lies in a South Carolina plant expected to come online in 2018.
While the Berkeley County plant will be home to the next-generation S60 sedan, a second promised model is no clearer now than when shovels broke ground in 2015. (Read More…)
With the Chinese-made S60L set to hit the United States next year, Volvo is taking the next step in building luxury cars in China, with plans for a new flagship to be built at a factory in Daqing.
Canada may have already received its first mass-produced Chinese car in the form of the outgoing Honda Fit. Now, it’s America’s turn.
Here’s a breath of fresh air; Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby declared that his cars, laden with safety systems and other gadgets, are too complex for most of Volvo’s customers.
Even though Project Volvo is geared towards the budget end of the scale, Sweden’s Polestar has been working on a factory backed S60 concept that puts out 508 horsepower and 424 lb-ft. The most surprising element, aside from the absurd power, is a 6-speed manual gearbox, something not readily available on North American Volvos. Polestar has apparently built one for an unspecified customer. We won’t get to drive it, but we hear there’s a brown XC70 kicking around the press fleet with a Polestar ECU flash.
While Volvo has had the occasional flirtation with performance (the 850R and S60R/V70R twins spring immediately to mind) the Swedish brand is most know for a dedication to safety. It was safety that attracted me to buy my first Volvo, a 1998 S70 T5 (5-speed manual of course), but it was performance that resulted in my second Volvo purchase, a 2006 V70R (6-speed manual). Unlike my Swedespeed.com brothers, however I had no delusions about the future of the R brand as Volvo doubled-down on their core. The R-Design models are a concession to speed freaks with a Swedish soft spot. Let’s see if they can fill the void.
Amid Volvo’s announcement of a plug-in hybrid for markets besides diesel-loving Europe came another tidbit about the lone Swedish brand’s future direction. Rather than 5, 6 or 8 cylinder engines like years past, Volvo will be downsizing, much like BMW – and using modular engines to boot, much like their Bavarian rivals.
Sometimes you feel like a BMW… and sometimes you don’t. Volvo has caught wind of this, and offers the 2011 S60 in hopes of adding the Bavarian-ambivalent market to its solid Swedophile base. What Volvo seems to have forgotten is that part of the BMW appeal is that the brand can be successfully marketed without resorting to worn-out terms like “naughty.” At least it could, once upon a time.