"Volvos Have Long Been Premium Products, Having Built a Reputation on Exceptional Durability, Meticulous Engineering, and of Course, Safety"
That was then, this is now. Oh wait; that's now too– at least according to our friends over at Autoblog. Scribe Dan Roth offers the testimonial upon hearing the news that Volvo's COO is spinning faster than a supersonic dradle. ""We want to continue to compete with Mercedes, BMW and Audi," Steven Armstrong, Volvo's COO tells Automotive News [sub]. "We're working to improve the premium-ness of the brand and our products." Shouldn't that be premiumnessosity? And who considers Volvo an alternative to a Merc, Bimmer or Audi? You know; other than Autoblog? Not U.S. consumers apparently. "Volvo sold 458,323 units worldwide last year, of which 106,213 were sold in the United States. Volvo's U.S. sales peaked at 139,067 units in 2004, but they are expected to fall to around 95,000 this year." While we await the Swedish brand's long-denied sale, we're left wondering about Roth's comprehension and sentence construction skills. "The possibility of building its cars in the United States might bring prices down [Ed: the possibility will bring prices down?] and allow better developed performance versions, versus the outclassed R models of the past," Roth contends. "The issue is not quite as high on the agenda as it was in January," Armstrong said.
Volvo has always made their bread and butter on the near-luxury side. What would now be seen as the $25k to $40k price range. We can talk about image all we want. But what it really comes down to is the model vis-a-vis the competition. Volvo simply does not have the better product at the price ranges they are 'asking' for. I still believe that the deep discounts you can get at some dealerships make a few of their models worthy considerations... but a fellow who is shopping for a $25k will usually not delve into European cars that go for over $30k because the perceived gulf in price appears to large. I still think Volvo would have been successful with a 'Volvo 260' based on the Taurus/Sable platform. Everything from the bulky styling to safety record to prior gen S80 chassis just oozed the foundation of a true Volvo. Unfortunately Ford did not see it that way, and now the marque rots under the delusional guise of 'prestige'. The corporate 'profit perception' and consumer 'market perception' of Volvo simply don't mix.
"We bought a brand new 960 in 1997 when they still looked kind of Euroboxy. The alternator failed at 65,000 miles which cost $800 to repair. Every time it went in for a scheduled service they found something that cost $600 to turn off the “service needed” light on the dash." They are great cars... but folks who take it to a dealer will get absolutely fleeced... anyone and their dog can do most of the maintenance and repairs. I bought a 95 Volvo 960 wagon for $1150 a few weeks ago it was probably the fifth or sixth I bought this past year. Out of all the models, the 960/V90/S90 seems to have the highest level of dealer maintenance from prior owners. One of my buys even went to the dealer 47 times for maintenance and repair needs. Couldn't believe it. I like their ride and interior ergonomics especially but they do require a lot more upkeep than most other Volvos.
Go to Craigslist and do a search on used Volvos for sale. You'll be amazed. On any day, you'll see plenty north of 170,000 miles, with many pushing 200,000 and quite a few with quite a few more than that on the odometer. These are all cars good enough to sell. On the other hand, I really don't see all that many Toyotas for sale with that kind of mileage. I did buy a Toyota (1991 Celica ST -- 1.6 liter four cylinder) myself in 1999 that had 212,000 on it -- and was surprisingly solid. But I haven't seen all that many since. I do seem to see plenty of Nissan Maximas with high mileage holding up very well. And then, of course, there's my 1988 Olds Delta 88 with the 3800 V6 that still wasn't burning a drop of oil when my brother, who obtained it from me as a hand-me-down, totaled it with about 215,000 miles on the odometer. That 3800 V6's performance was miles ahead (no pun intended...) of the Toyota 1.6 liter's, which burned oil (lots of it) right up to the car's death (culprit: T-bone) at 298,000 miles. And the oil conflagration reached blinding-blue-cloud-of-smoke levels at every start-up from 260,000 miles onward. Just my observations..."sorry" if they don't fit the new conventional wisdom...
@ RedStapler I am so confused. I am straight and drive a "fast and furious" Legacy GT (Spec. B, no less). But I also drove an Outback VDC for 3 years. Hmmmm! No mountains here in Providence, but we do have some hills that are fun when it snows (I Pirelli Winter the Spec. B to increase the enjoyment). I wonder which one of your profiles I fit? Maybe I just like dependable cars that are fun to drive and inexpensive to keep. I do love women from that enchanted Greek Isle though. Maybe I'll get myself a new Forester XT. Great how profiling works ain't it! Gotta love liberalism. Move on!