Volvo Plugs In, Buyers Still Lined Up None-Deep
Plug-in diesel hybrids? Anyone? Only 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer! Of course, Volvo’s plans are plagued with the usual “big plans, little company” problems. Like the fact that Volvo has no money. Ford’s Swedish division will build diesel-hybrids with about 30 miles of plug-in capacity for this latest project, while utility company Vattenfall will develop infrastructure and charging systems. In other words, like Mama Ford’s planned plug-in this puppy is only in play because of outside help. Speaking of which, there’s just one more piece to the partnership. “We do of course expect that the purchasing price will be higher,” Volvo’s Stephen Odell tells Reuters. “In this area we are keen to see further subsidies and incentives from the political arena to promote green choice among customers.” Of course.
Meanwhile, as desperation builds in Gothenburg, how go the attempts to sell off Volvo? “We’ll go through due process and when it will end I don’t know,” says Odell. “We’re not going to do this in haste.” Because doing it in haste would require more offers than some guy on Craigslist who floated a tender of $150 “cash money dollars” plus his ten-year-old ATV. Or, as Odell puts it, “Ford Motor Co has said there are a number of very interested parties in the company. Ford is, with me as part of that process, talking to those parties, and not ready to give any signs beyond the fact that the discussions are ongoing.”
Saab and Volvo missed the boat, big-time, when they allowed the hybrid/EV market to pass them by. Think about the (typical) buyers of Saabs and Volvos: left-leaning, somewhat affluent, environmentally concerned, well-educated. It's a testament to how bad Ford and GM's marketing departments are that they had brands ideally positioned to stomp all over the Prius and flubbed it.
psarhjinian Good point, and reminds me of this question I've had: since Ford owns Volvo, why not drop the Escape hybrid powertrain in the V70 and create and own the hybrid wagon segment. Yes, a pretty slim segment, but a quintessentially Volvo one.
My impression is that Diesel-Hybrid is devilishly difficult to get to work smoothly. PSA has been trying for years and they keep on postponing. 2010, who knows? A tall order for Volvo that would be.