Volvo Turnaround Plan: To Save The Brand We Must Destroy The Brand
We've been helping to circulate rumors of possible Volvo sales recently, most of which have centered on Chinese firms as the potential buyer. All the while Ford has insisted that Volvo isn't for sale; statements which we've treated with the incredulity that all pre-sale denials deserve. But it seems Ford's sticking with the Swedes. In a post on his Autocar blog, Hilton Holloway describes Volvo's 20-year quest to emulate Audi's upmarket appeal, and its utter failure to escape its stodgy image. One Volvo exec tells Holloway that "he wished he had BMW's customers, who would tick all the options boxes and update their car every couple of years." Obviously that's not about to happen anytime soon. So FoMoCo is set to dial back Volvo's upmarket ambitions and reposition the Gothenberg brand as a VW-style "upmarket mainstream" marque. This means building cheaper cars that are "more closely related to Ford models" so that U.S. production can boost Volvo's profit margins. It also means Volvo wants to hoik sales from 420k to 600k vehicles per annum. The new Volvos could be green lighted as early as January. With such short development times, look for Volvo to descend into the bowels of brand engineering with its new generation of high-volume models. It could well be "one Ford" too many.
Much of the unreliability of many modern Volvo comes directly from excess complexity poorly executed. The same is true of many other Euro brands ... that and the fact that they are all chock full of Bosch electronics. For years people have made fun of England's Lucas electronics, but I've had more trouble with various Bosch bits not to mention the real POS Bosch dishwasher we finally scrapped when it was only six years old. Speaking of which, what is it with German plastics being so short lived? Our four year old German made Whirlpool front loader recently broke down because the plastic door latch failed mid-load. When I had a Scirocco years ago certain plastic clips started failing on a regular basis only a month after I bought the thing. The previously mentioned Bosch dishwasher routine coughed up failed internal plastic parts. Do the consumers of Europe just expect and accept this kind of thing?
Volvo is and has been for sale for some time (just not official). Time will tell all. Volvo further, is a dead brand rolling, has been for some years. The car simply is akin to Chrysler, just not much to be had, so patrons go elsewhere. As for Lincoln, whew what a re-labeled, thin skinned Ford in funky clothing. Ford's auto divisions (Mazda, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Ford)are a complete impasse (as are several others companies autos). We will continue to see strange change in the US automotive landscape.
Areitu : August 13th, 2008 at 4:53 pm Terrifying depreciation and a sparse dealer network are a bit of a turnoff. Maybe they could try to “IKEA” the brand and capitalize on it’s scandanavian qualities. Or is that SAAB’s thing already? SAAB has a thing??? You mean besides a 40 year history of butt ugly styling? If GM traded Ford the SAAB name heads up for Mercury it would be a hard call as to who won that deal. The only advantage Mercury has is Ford spends only about $10 on new badges to make a Ford into a Mercury while GM spends a fortune making SAAB's no one wants. Taking Volvo back to it's European Subaru position is the only hope.
Volvo has a great car in the V50/S40. S60 not so much.