After the sale of Polestar to Volvo, the Swedish automaker is cranking up output and bringing more than double the number of high-performance sedans and wagons to the U.S. for 2016.
Also, there will be more wagons than sedans wearing Polestar badging this time around, as Volvo states 60 percent of the 265 total Polestar units will be V60 models.
It’s Leopaard, with two A’s.
Last time we had a look at the 10th to 6th most-impressive Chinese carmakers at Auto Shanghai 2015, it’s now time for ranks No. 5 to No. 2. By now, either the carmakers in question have made tremendous progress compared to last year in Beijing, or they are approaching world class. And we’ll start with the “Most Improved” award.
The fraternity of automotive journalism was atwitter when blue Polestar Volvos arrived at the Chicago auto show last year. While the cars delivered increased performance and looks to match, Polestar also gave the high-performance Swedish offerings credibility with racing programs in Scandinavia (STCC) and Australia (V8 Supercars).
It’s no secret, though, that Volvo’s marketing head, Alain Visser, sees no future for the brand in motorsport. Purchasing Polestar might be the Swedish manufacturer’s way of ending at least one of its racing contracts while still holding on to the blue-hot Polestar brand.
Speaking with Swedish media late last year, Visser plainly stated, “Motorsport does not conform with our brand, where we stand for smaller engines and safety. We are therefore pulling out of STCC, for example, as soon as the contracts permits.”
Volvo has purchased Swedish high-performance tuner Polestar, the automaker announced Tuesday. The company will own and operate Polestar as an in-house performance division much like Ford’s SVT division or Subaru’s STI group (anything other than another Mercedes-AMG or BMW M Division reference).
You could be forgiven for thinking Volvo owned Polestar already — the Swedish automaker already exclusively contracted with the Swedish tuner in 2013 to produce the V60 and S60 Polestar editions and the two have worked together since the 1990s.
Volvo said in the medium-term it would double output of Polestar branded cars — which could mean more than 80 sedans and 40 wagons a year coming to the United States.
Volvo announced today it will warranty any replaced part and labor, not including wear-and-tear items and accessories, for the life of the car. The coverage extends only to service at dealerships.
Volvo owners will pay for the initial replacement parts and labor on vehicles with expired warranties, but Volvo will pay for any additional service on that part for as long as the owner has the car. The parts warranty covers all models from all years and will be honored at all North American Volvo dealerships, according to the automaker.
Whereas the Teutonic Trinity of Audi, BMW and Mercedes go for complexity in their offerings, Volvo aims to attract luxury consumers through simplicity.
Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months.
Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020.
Volvo seems to be on the long road to recovery. Although sales have continued to slip in the USA, the numbers were up worldwide last year. In an interesting twist, 2014 was also the first year more Volvos were sold in China than North America. That could be cause-and-effect since Volvo had been more focused on their European-only new compact sedan and wagon. 2016 finally showers some Swedish love on America with a complete redesign of the XC90, the SUV originally designed for us. Because China is now a bigger market than we are, this XC90 isn’t just for us, but for China and the growing number of big crossovers clogging up Europe as well.
It’s official: Volvo has chosen South Carolina as the home of its first factory in the United States.
The factory will built north of Charleston in Berkeley County, with construction set to begin this fall. Production is expected to begin in 2018, and up to 100,000 units per year are projected to leave South Carolina once operations commence.
Debuting alongside the XC90 Excellence at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the Volvo S60L T6 Twin Engine PHEV brings hybrid power to the Sino-Swede party.