WSJ: Volvo "Might As Well Back Out Of" The United States

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
wsj volvo might as well back out of the united states

Volvo’s target is the lower end of the Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes lines… Most experts consider the cars made by these companies engineering marvels. And Volvo, a Swedish marque with Chinese ownership, is another manufacturer that does not have the model line, marketing budget or dealer network to hope to compete.

Doesn’t sound like a vote of confidence, does it?

It’s rare for the Wall Street Journal to argue that a company should just give up. Not a very capitalist mindset, really. In a rather Death-Watch-esque article posted this past Friday, however, the voice of the one percent called for some timely market seppuku from underperforming competitors in the North American auto market.

In addition to the no-confidence vote given to Volvo above, the Journal called out Mitsusbishi and Suzuki (“It is a wonder that their parent corporations continue to grapple for market share they can never win. If they had a chance to do well, it was when there was a tidal wave of Japanese imports three decades ago. Now it is much too late”) as players who should cash in their remaining chips before they are forced to quit. Although the paper readily acknowledges the fact that sales are improving for some manufacturers here, “…that growth does not lift all ships.”

Here at TTAC, we’d be sad to see the lively Kizashi, the still-desirable Lancer Evolution, or the surprisingly usable Grand Vitara disappear from dealerships just to satisfy someone else’s notion of fiscal responsibility. As for Volvo… well, as the photo above hints, we will be following Alex Dykes’ review of the 2013 S60 with a final, Corvette-chasing goodbye to the “naughty” 2012 S60 T5 later on this week.

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4 of 109 comments
  • Cornycopious Cornycopious on Mar 07, 2014

    "Volvo isn't number one in safety anymore" is one of those things people say without thinking about it or having any idea what they're talking about just to have something to say. Have you put the dots together after the recent IIHS small overlap test? You should. Manufacturers (practically all of them except Volvo) are mailing it in when it comes to safety, building to the tests and nothing but. Change the test slightly and suddenly you see that they aren't even able to protect you from hitting a tree at 40 mph unless you happen to hit it dead center. The only reason that test didn't take Volvo by surprise? They've been doing it on their own SINCE THE 80's. Other manufacturers are going to have to redesign their entire lineups to pass, whereas Volvo's now ancient XC90 sails through it without a hitch. Have you seen the XC90 rollover video? You should check it out. Now check out the same rollover video for the MDX, X5 and every other SUV in the segment. Oh-- what? Those manufacturers HAVEN'T made such a video public? If safety isn't important to you that's cool. Just don't delude yourself into thinking your Toyota is remotely equivalent just because the US government said so after putting it through a barrier of ersatz "tests". Also, have you noticed that the new S60 almost bested the 3 series in every category of comparison in the Road and Track review? Have you noticed how much better Volvo's user interfaces are than practically everything else on the road? Do you think you might get any value out of a seat that was actually designed by an orthopedist? Volvo's decision to stick to North America is probably just a vote of faith in the American public to one day be able to recognize good design and choose it over the garbage they've been buying. Probably a wreckless decision given that we gave the world the happy meal, but I think we should take it as a compliment and just be glad they haven't given up.

  • Tostik Tostik on Aug 23, 2015

    Was just reviewing articles on Volvo leaving the US. There are really some comical articles on the topic. Jul 2015 just saw a Volvo rise in sales of 14% YOY in the US, just because of new XC90 sales, with many all-new models to follow. And with a new Volvo factory in South Carolina soon to come online (2018), Volvo ain't goin' nowhere. LOL

  • Tostik Tostik on Oct 01, 2015

    Thought I would come back again to this old thread and gloat a little. Latest Volvo sales for the US, up 18.4% for Sep 2015. This follows a rise of 18.3% in Aug and a 14.3% rise in Jul. So Volvo is washed up in the US, eh? Sales and orders for the new XC90 are red hot, and the old XC60 is still doing great. In the next two years, Volvo will come out with a total make-over of all it's model lines, and if the XC90 is any indicator, these new models will make Volvo current sales goals look way too low. Volvo is on the verge of a break out.

  • Tostik Tostik on Oct 01, 2015

    And Jack, I think your quote is from "24/7 Wall Street", not the WSJ. These clowns have been making clueless and irresponsible predictions, like this one about Volvo, for a while now, just to get attention (like their name would imply). People confuse them with the WSJ all the time.