Stereotyping is something we all do, for better or worse. It’s in the normative for people to establish an immediate set of parameters around a person, place, or thing (so, nouns) without a second thought. The human brain is comfortable within these predetermined expectations. Similarly, consumers have expectations and stereotypes of brands. X/Y/Z brand are expected to offer a particular style, model, or paint color — and many brands exist in these stereotypes entirely without any joie de vivre, or whatever French phrases people throw out to sound intellectual.
But today I want to know what cars stand out within their brand. Which models past or present threw the marque’s guideline book out the window to become par excellence? (Ugh.)
Volvo denies that it wants to return to publicly listed status, but a new round of fundraising has many believing the Swedish automaker is about to end its 20-year absence from the stock market.
According to the Financial Times, the Geely-owned company hopes to raise about $500 million from a new batch of preference shares. Unlike the last time it held out its hat, this time Volvo wants Chinese buy-in. (Read More…)
Though its debut will lag that of Chevrolet’s Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, Volvo’s first entry into the world of all-electric vehicles looks to be right on par with the current generation’s maximum range and requisite financial investment. Starting between $35,000 and $40,000 when it debuts in 2019, the Swedish EV should be capable of at least 250 miles between charges.
Away from the main stage of the Geneva International Motor Show, CEO of Volvo America Lex Kerssemakers indicated to journalists that the standards set by the Bolt would be the benchmark. “That’s what I put in as the prerequisite for the United States,” Kerssemakers said. “If I want to make a point in the United States, if I want to make volumes, that’s what I believe I need.” (Read More…)
When the Volvo XC60 first entered the premium compact CUV market, the world was still fully in the grip of a financial crisis, Twitter was relatively new, and America was transitioning from its 43rd to 44th president.
Despite enjoying remarkably stable sales from its solid entry in the wildly competitive segment, Volvo clearly felt it was time for a change. And what better strategy exists besides emulating the model’s critically acclaimed bigger brother, the XC90?
The answer: none. Fully made over, the second-generation 2018 Volvo XC60 revealed today at the Geneva Motor Show borrows some of the XC90’s best hardware and design cues, resulting in a strikingly handsome and grown-up crossover. (Read More…)
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…)
I’m always on the lookout for small-production figure, special-edition cars during my junkyard explorations, and we have admired such classics as the Etienne Aigner Volkswagen Golf and the Daytona 500 Pace Car Pontiac Grand Prix in past installments of the Junkyard Find series.
Today, we’re moving into the 21st century, for a genuine, numbers-matching, one-of-650-made 2002 Volvo Ocean Race Edition V70 Cross Country, spotted in that hotbed of nautical action: Denver. (Read More…)
A few years after Alexander Graham Bell beat Elisha Gray in patenting the telephone, someone conceptualized the telephonoscope and the world became bedeviled by the notion of seeing someone while you conversed remotely. Video phones appeared in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Jay Roach’s timeless classic Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), and just about everywhere in between. They even cropped up in real life. AT&T tested the waters in the 1920s by pairing mechanical television receivers to telephones before blowing half a billion dollars on the Picturephone a few decades later.
Things are different today. You can easily bring up any number of applications on your hand-held device and video chat with people from practically anywhere on the planet. However, we never really got a dedicated video phone in our cars, creating a compellingly retro-futuristic need for such a thing.
Then Volvo announced that it was adding Skype for Business to its 90 Series cars and I began imagining a universe where I would notify besuited men — face-to-face — that I did not have anymore time to talk because I was much too busy driving. It was a perfect fantasy where I told nervous industrialists which robots should build the smaller robots and who to fire all from the comfort of my mobile office — and while looking them right in their terrified eyes. (Read More…)
Volvo has only recently started exhuming itself from its post-recession sales hole and pushing its disastrous fling with Ford into the past. Turning a corner, the company has sold over 470,000 cars so far this year, aided largely by the successes of its XC90 SUV. Operating earnings having tripled in the first half of this year.
Now, the company has raised 5 billion Swedish crowns — $532 million — from the sale of newly-issued preference shares to a group of Swedish institutional investors.
All signs point to a confident company that wants back into the stock market. (Read More…)
Uber Technologies Inc. have again ignored mandates from California regulators that the ride-services firm must apply for a permit to test self-driving cars, setting the table for a potential legal battle. Uber’s grounds for refusing to apply are that the autonomous vehicles are not quite self-reliant enough to warrant the paperwork.
Unveiled to the public on Wednesday, the company’s self-driving cars faced immediate criticism in San Francisco after news broke that one had breezed through a red light and another almost caused an accident. The general denunciation forced the California Department of Motor Vehicles to notify Uber to cease operations, to which it responded with a frank “no.” (Read More…)
Uber proudly released a fleet of eleven driverless Volvos onto the streets of San Francisco Wednesday morning and one or two immediately started running amok. One person tweeted about seeing a self-driving vehicle nearly hitting another car, while another posted a video showing an autonomous tech-equipped XC90 breezing through a red light and active pedestrian cross-walk.
Before the end of the program’s first day, people were clamoring for Uber to explain the incidents and the California Department of Motor Vehicles had sent the ride-hailing company a cease and desist letter for operating without a permit.
Volvo has named Henrik Green as its new head of researching and development, replacing Peter Mertens, who was usurped by Audi in November.
Green, 43, entered Volvo’s executive branch in October as the senior vice president of sales, production planning, and customer service. Volvo says the vacant position, which was created for Green specifically, will be filled eventually. With Mertens gone, Volvo is depending upon Green to implement plug-in hybrid drivetrains throughout the company’s fleet and develop an autonomous vehicle by 2021. (Read More…)
Do you remember the last Volvo commercial you saw? Or any Volvo commercial?
If the answer is “no,” you clearly haven’t seen the videos offered up by Volvo Trucks, which somehow manage to make 18-wheelers seem as alluring as a two-seat droptop. By staging stunts that compel viewers to seek out a heavy truck license, the company’s online videos have given the truck maker a strong media presence and plenty of word of mouth.
It’s too bad that Volvo Cars (long since snatched from under the Volvo Group corporate umbrella) can’t do the same thing. (Read More…)
Audi was in the market for a new technical development chief after losing the last two to Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal. This time around it wisely decided to shop outside of the company store, poaching top Volvo R&D chief Peter Mertens.
The automaker has high hopes for its growing crop of Swedish-sourced talent.
Toyota’s going to market the new Prius Prime with laser-like precision. Is it because they want to embrace cutting-edge advertising methods, or is it because they don’t see it as a vehicle with particularly broad appeal?
That, BMW thinks it might want to keep an unpopular model around for another generation, Volvo issues a voluntary recall on seat belts, and Toyota and Nissan agree that their prospects have looked better in North America… after the break!
It should come as no surprise that some of the most iconic automobile designs have interesting associations in their geneses. Where those associations come from, though, can sometimes be surprising, as companies leapfrog the globe trying to find the talent, technical expertise, and productive capacity to build a new or unique model.
These stories seem to pop up more often when there’s a shift in a company’s priorities or an attempted to redefine its direction or mission. Large organizations can be slow to adjust to these changes, and so often these major manufacturers turned to small teams to produce what have often become standout models from already legendary lineups.
Often, but not always, as we see in this montage of odd couples.