I get it. No real enthusiast should like crossovers. They’re tall, handle poorly, slurp gas, and aren’t as space efficient as the cars upon which they’re based. They aren’t a true sport-utility vehicles, either, as their on road-focused designs can’t handle rough terrain.
I used to be like you. I’m a car lover, and always will be, but the market has spoken, and it seems that most new vehicles coming our way will be high-riding wagons of some sort. So it’s time to get on board.
The 2019 Volvo XC40 T4 might be the tipping point for me. It’s not perfect — few cars are — but it works so incredibly well for its mission, moving people and stuff in style. That it is reasonably priced and has truly excellent fuel economy are merely bonuses.
It’s that special holiday time of year again. For a few short weeks, people go out of their way to be nice to others, and to wish one another the best in the upcoming new year. While the niceness still abounds, we want to know which car manufacturer receives your well-wishes for the future.
The California New Car Dealers Association is requesting that Volvo immediately end its Care by Volvo subscription service within the state. According to the group, the automaker is in violation of California’s franchise and consumer protection laws.
It’s been a long time coming, as Care by Volvo is clearly designed to minimize dealer interactions. Anders Gustafsson, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, even said the program claimed as much as 15 percent of the XC40 crossovers intended for dealerships this year.
“It’s really the same concerns from everybody, and it’s just that they don’t feel secure,” Gustafsson of said dealers last month. “They’re afraid we’re going to take something away from them … I would say the biggest question mark around subscriptions is that consumers need to decide that. Our retailers are asking, ‘Please let us be involved, because we can help.'”
It looks like they’re tired of begging.
Despite the push from an eager industry, car subscription services haven’t proven an overwhelming success. The general consensus is that premium services, while intriguing concepts, are too expensive and complicated to maintain at scale. Book by Cadillac, which was recently suspended by General Motors, is emblematic of the public’s lackadaisical response to a system mired in logistical issues.
However, the concept itself isn’t dead just because one manufacturer decided it wasn’t worthwhile. Other premium nameplates still have their own services — Toyota plans to launch its own subscription-based pilot program in Japan soon, while Volvo Cars has enjoyed some success with Care by Volvo. Still, framing it as a trouble-free victory for the brand would be a mistake. Volvo’s subscription service has been as much a learning opportunity as it has been an overwhelming triumph.
After hiring financial advisors earlier this year, a move many believed was a precursor to an initial public offering (IPO), Volvo parent company Geely now claims the waters are too choppy to float any shares in the resurgent Swedish automaker.
First reported by the Financial Times this past weekend, the Chinese holding company says there’s too many uncertainties and headwinds in the industry right now. Thus, no Volvo stock for you. The biggest uncertainty is the one that’s keeping automakers on edge the world over.
I want to love you, CKD.
But who, or what, is CKD? It stands for Completely Knocked Down, and it’s a term used for a rather strange way to build a car. It works like so: A “mother plant” builds a new car. But not all the way. Just into sub-assemblies that can be put together in another plant devoted specifically to final assembly. Think of Ikea furniture; that’s CKD. That Tamiya Hornet you built back in 1985? Miniature CKD, my friend. I think you get the idea.
Now, it so happens that there are some countries out there that like to stimulate local employment by placing heavy tariffs on cars built elsewhere. Malaysia is one of those countries. So in March of 1967, Volvo opened a plant there to assemble CKD Volvos sent over from Sweden. This wasn’t “manufacturing” in its purest sense, but CKD assembly is often how “transplant” factories are jump-started; the first Accords made in Ohio were CKDs and now Marysville is itself a Global Mother Plant that is capable of making CKDs to be assembled elsewhere. Sure enough, after a while the Malaysian plant came up to speed and started building Volvos from soup to nuts.
In 2016, Volvo introduced the T8 “Twin Engine” version of its razor-edged S90 sedan. Compared to the S90 T5 I reviewed last year, the T8 has another 63 horses from increased boost pressure, plus an 87-horsepower electric motor driving the rear wheels. That S90 T5 was made in China to be sold in America. China is a long way from the United States. It is not a long way from Thailand. So when the owners of EVOLTN Magazine asked me to drive a Malaysian-assembled Volvo S90 T8 across Thailand, it seemed reasonable to assume that the CKD “kit” from whence it sprang would be Chinese. But as we all know, when you “assume”…
If only all automakers had what Volvo’s offering. Starting this month, buyers wishing for more of a sports car experience from their all-wheel drive, non-hybrid Volvo can hack some more attitude into it. On Wednesday, the Swedish automaker announced the availability of new software developed by its Polestar performance division that should do the trick.
Job One for this software? Send more torque to the rear wheels.
One of the downsides of doing this job is adapting to a new car every week. While the joy of never actually performing maintenance on your daily driver makes up for it, I struggle with basic tasks at times that should be second nature. Various cars have different locations for parking brakes, for example — I once stomped toward what I thought was a pedal-actuated parking brake, and instead caught my toe on the hood release.
That struggle extends to plug-in hybrids like this 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 — I simply forget to plug the darned thing in. Volvo quotes up to 17 miles of all-electric range. My commute to the office is right around 8 miles. I rather like the idea of not using a drop of gasoline to get to the day job, but two things conspired to keep me from that goal: my general idiocy, and the intoxicating torque supplied by this innovative powertrain.
Unlike Volvo’s S90 sedan, which is built half a world away from its V90 wagon stablemate, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker has some flexibility in where it sources its XC60 crossover. Two plants — one in China, one in Torslanda, Sweden — crank out the second-generation utility vehicle, but the U.S. market gets its full share from the Orient.
After the Trump administration imposed a tariff of 25 percent on Chinese-built vehicles, Volvo’s XC60 suddenly found itself dragging a financial anchor. Hardly a great situation for a model that outsold all other Volvos in the U.S. last month. To side-step the tariff, Volvo’s already making changes.
Say goodbye to the Chinese XC60.
Volvo made the beloved 240 for 19 model years, 1975 through 1993, and the car didn’t change much during that period. By the early 1990s, Volvo had “replaced” the increasingly dated-looking 240 three times, with the 740, 940, and 850, but plenty of buyers were still choosing the ancient brick over the more modern iron. It had to end at some point, though, and 1993 was the last year for these cars.
Here’s a very clean, very high-mile ’93 wagon in a Denver-area self-service yard.
Having already launched the Care by Volvo subscription program, the Swedish-Chinese automotive brand wants to continue cramming feathers into its cap. It’s now launching a new mobility brand that sounds very similar to car-sharing services offered by numerous automakers and rental firms.
There could be an issue with the naming strategy, however. Volvo wants to call the company M, which is a letter of the alphabet that’s of particular interest for BMW. In case you’ve been in a coma for the last forty years, the German automaker has used the letter M (for Motorsport) to denote its performance division and affixes it to everything in its lineup with sporting pretensions. While it probably can’t claim ownership of all things relating to the mark, it’s definitely not going to be thrilled to see Volvo using it.
We’d like to apologize if our articles previewing the Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered got you excited about the American-made model because you probably won’t get to lay your greasy little hands on one.
Volvo previously stated that the special sedans would only be available in extremely limited quantities. We assumed that meant the manufacturer would probably only build a couple hundred per year at most. As it turns out, that number was a gross overestimate. However, even if you are fortunate enough to have one in your garage, you still won’t be able to own it.
Few will disagree that the second-generation Volvo XC60 crossover, which debuted for the 2018 model year, is a handsome vehicle. The midsizer adopts many of the styling decisions bestowed upon its larger XC90 brother, and that’s a good thing. Still, despite its smaller footprint, the XC60 remains a premium vehicle with a premium price.
For 2019, however, the entry-level XC60 sheds both content and price.
Electric, not electrified, as you can already find several Volvo models boasting a plug and a combination of gasoline and electric propulsion. The automaker best remembered for keeping the 240 in production with only minimal changes for two decades now wants to pin the technology pedal to the floor, setting a goal of having 50 percent of its customers drive away in fully electric vehicles by 2025.
Ambitious, to say the least. The first electric model would come along in 2019, the automaker stated earlier this year, while keeping the identity of the model under wraps. We now know it’s the XC40, which should comes as no shock to anyone.
The Chinese-owned Swedish brand’s first U.S. assembly plant, which is about to launch into production of the next-generation S60 sedan, will gain a second exclusive product in the form of the next-gen XC90.
As the priciest vehicle bearing a Volvo Cars badge, the XC90 remains a huge part of the brand’s — presence and profits — in the United States. And, when sole production of the model comes to the Southeast factory in just three years, workers will be tasked with building a model capable of Level 4 autonomy and all-electric driving. It’ll be a challenge, Volvo’s CEO says, but it’s necessary.
Volvo unveiled its third-generation, 2019 Volvo S60 today and I keep having the same thought — this is what the Buick Century could have evolved into if General Motors played its cards right. That’s not a dig on the tri-shield brand, the Regal is a fine automobile, but the S60 is a car worth getting excited about.
Strange, as the car isn’t really all that new. The XC60 and V60 have been around for a little while and Volvo’s sedan seems to be more of the same. But there are some key differences to go with the welcome similarities (the wagon obviously has the most in common with the S60), and there’s more to the automobile than just good looks and desirable specifications. The S60 represents Volvo’s first American-made car, built at its new $1.1 billion plant near Charleston, South Carolina. It’s also the first Volvo model to forego a diesel option.
Volvo doesn’t want anyone to forget it’s revealing its first U.S.-built model on Wednesday, so it furnished us with a few more teasers to whet the collective appetite. It isn’t the car’s looks that have us excited, however — we already know the S60 will resembled a scaled-down S90 in both form and function.
What has our shorts in a pleasant knot is the fact that Volvo hasn’t replaced the model with another crossover. The new model replaces the second-generation sedan launched in 2010 (and sold in ever-decreasing numbers since 2012) and the automaker seems intent on offering everything customers have come to expect, and then some. There’s even a Polestar Engineered edition of the T8 model that offers 415 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque, plus enthusiast-oriented tweaks to the braking and suspension.
Frankly, it’s all shaping up rather nicely.
In order to create a bit of added buzz around the debut of the new Volvo S60, scheduled for next week, the automaker teased images of a performance variant wearing the Polestar emblem. The upcoming sports sedan will be the first Volvo manufactured within the United States. It will also be one of the first models touched by the “Polestar Engineered” performance package, along with the XC60 crossover and V60 wagon.
While Polestar remains its own brand, Volvo plans to continue using the name to denote sporting versions that include some form of electrification. On this batch, that means the only engines receiving special treatment are the T8 Twin-Engine Plug-in Hybrids. The treatment includes upgraded brakes, suspension, and powertrain — resulting in a trim positioned above the R-Design in terms of performance, price, and desirability.
Volvo, back from near death and feeling pretty pleased with itself, wants to capitalize on the modular platform found beneath the XC40 compact crossover. With 80,000 orders for the new-for-2018 ‘ute under its belt, the Chinese-owned Swede plans to spawn more models and reassert itself in the small car space.
On Thursday, the company said it would throttle up production of the XC40 at its Belgian assembly plant, which will soon boast quite a bit of usable space. The S60 sedan’s headed to South Carolina later this year. Meanwhile, the V60 wagon sibling will move most of its production to a Swedish plant.
What does this mean for the United States? Perhaps more than you’d expect.
Volvo Boss Predicts a Plug-in-filled Future, but Americans Don't Seem That Keen on the Brand's Largest Greenie
The second-generation Volvo XC90 announced the brand’s confident and triumphant return to the forefront of automotive discourse. With its parental troubles behind it, the 2015 model year XC90 arrived with dignified, upscale sheetmetal and served as a styling template for future models like the S90 and XC60.
It also heralded the brand’s move towards downsized powerplants assisted by electric motors.
The company’s CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, sees a not-too-distant future where plug-in hybrids make up a quarter of its sales — an attainable goal on a global scale, given China and Europe’s fondness for such models. In the United States, though, Volvo’s plug-in XC90 — lately, anyway — seems to be headed in the opposite sales direction as its plug-free model. Slightly odd, as plug-in hybrids are ascendent in America.
Occasionally on the vast and wondrous expanse of the Internet of Cars, I’ll run across one of these uniquely shaped little Volvos. In past instances they were either not for sale, were lacking in condition, or had few available photos.
All that changed the other day, when I sought out a photo of the 480 to make a point on Twitter. Let’s check out this charcoal-colored box, shall we?
While North America awaits Tesla Motors’ electrified big rig, the rest of the globe’s manufacturers are working on battery driven commercial vehicles of their own. These vehicles may not be able to match the Tesla’s size or ability to do burnouts, but their existence shows companies are taking electrification seriously.
FedEx, which has already reserved a handful of the Tesla trucks, bragged it would soon deploy Navistar-sourced electric trucks way back in 2010. However, with the exception of ultra-dense urban environments and shipping hubs, these units haven’t see a lot of action. For the most part, the addition of zero-emission vehicles seem like a good way for companies to virtue signal and test the feasibility of such a platform in a commercial setting. For example, UPS issued a press release in February saying it wanted to develop 50 battery electric vans that might someday replace its fleet of 35,000 gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.
Still, there’s momentum building behind alternative energy vehicles in the commercial sector. Daimler-owned Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation started the slow rollout of its eCanter courier truck last September. It probably won’t break any sales records for the brand, but it does show manufacturers’ desire to not just develop, but sell these things at a meaningful volume — and it’s soon to be followed by Volvo Trucks’ brand new FL Electric.
The Volvo 900 Series replaced the 700 Series, which replaced the 200 Series, but — in true Volvo fashion — there was sufficient production overlap between these related models that all three were available at the same time for a couple of years in the early 1990s. The 940 sold well in the United States, but you’ll see more 240s and 740s today, perhaps due to the great affection held by Volvo fanatics for the “real” rear-wheel-drive Swedes.
I went into a Northern California wrecking yard determined to shoot the first 940 or 960 I saw, and that car turned out to be this 940 Turbo station wagon.
When the majority of the buying public thinks of Volvo, three things generally come to mind: safety, boxy wagons, and professors in tweed sport coats with those weird elbow patches. This is understandable, given that the company made hay selling safe and boxy wagons to professors in tweed sport coats with weird elbow patches.
Volvo has long since de-weirded itself but still marches to a slightly different Swedish beat. It’s currently under the stewardship of a Chinese company that gives the brand enough leash to generally do its own thing. Starting at $35,200, the automaker’s least-expensive car, the XC40, should help bring new buyers to the brand. Let’s see how it stacks up in base form.
The B&B has proved on many occasions that they enjoy a nice Buy/Drive/Burn or three centered around the 1990s. I sense you want more, so have more! Today’s trio sprang to mind as we discussed the article surrounding Buick’s choice to remove the brand name from all new vehicles. In the comments, things naturally turned to the Oldsmobile Aurora and the modified Rocket logo it displayed.
But what other two vehicles from 1995 do you pair with the brand new Oldsmobile Aurora? Will you want to burn any of these? Let’s find out.
Volvo simultaneously took a trip down memory lane while keeping its eyes on The Future™ when it unveiled the new V60 this week. Remember when Volvo was synonymous with practical wagon-based transportation for upstanding middle-class families? Those days are here again; but they are also gone, as the brand has transformed itself by offering models with exquisite styling, improved performance, and gobs of tech.
These are no longer nice square cars for nice square people. They’re sex machines intended for people who want to make a statement about who they are — and may happen to have children. But Volvo hasn’t abandoned its recipe entirely. It’s still a bit of an odd duck as European manufacturers go, and it’s still building desirable station wagons.
While many of them border on the crossover category, the company has stuck with estate cars, the V90 being the biggest jewel in that particular crown. The new V60 is essentially a scaled-down and more affordable version of that model. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart without careful inspection.
Our previous entry into Buy/Drive/Burn asked which brougham personal luxury coupe you’d choose from the Big Three for the 1980 model year. Today we’ve got a different Big Three — two Germans and a Swede. (Read ground rules here.)
All of them offered luxury wagons with all-wheel drive around the turn of the century, and we hone in on 2004 today. Which one will you drive up to the Alps and then set on fire?
Fresh-faced automotive brand Lynk & CO began selling its first vehicle in China about two months ago. But it has bigger aspirations than procuring a place in Asia’s largest market — it wants to achieve global domination through westerly expansion and is now preparing to take its first steps.
While the goal seems unrealistic for a fledgeling automaker producing only one model, the brand has friends in high places. Volvo Cars, which is also owned by Geely Automotive, may be tapped to assist Lynk in Europe by offering its factory in Belgium and opening up its servicing infrastructure. If so, that would set a precedent for a Volvo-based support network that could eventually extend to North America.
Recall the days all those years ago (probably over a century for some of you), as the time approached for you to start driving. Some of you may have been prescribed a vehicle by the gift of a generous or perhaps spiteful relative. Others received a set stipend from the Bank of Parentus, while the rest worked at a low-end job to scrape up funds for an automotive purchase.
Today, we want to know what your aspirations were at the time; which vehicles did you desire and shop for as your first car?
3.1 inches, and 4,529 miles. These two dimensions are what make this Volvo unique. If you’re not hip to the lingo, the “Inscription” label on this car has nothing to do with a scribbled authors’ note on the front page of a favorite book. Inscription means, oddly, an extended wheelbase. 3.1 inches, to be precise.
4,529 miles? That’s a bit more straightforward. This long-wheelbase Volvo S60 is built in a market where that extra rear passenger space is valued above all else: Chengdu, China – over four thousand miles away from the ancestral Volvo home in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Do these figures matter? Is the Sichuan-made S60 a credible competitor, or will the point of final assembly scare too many shoppers away?
It wasn’t the elegant S90 sedan or oddly seductive V90 wagon that heralded Volvo’s return to the top of its game — it was the earlier XC90 SUV, specifically the upright and self-assured second-generation model.
Now that it’s no longer the newest vehicle in the stable (thanks to a product surge fueled by Chinese dollars, it’s quickly becoming the oldest), the XC90 enters 2018 with an extra dose of value.
Back in 2015, Volvo Cars reiterated that it would test hundreds of autonomous vehicles in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and China by 2018 as part of its Drive Me project. Using cars equipped with advanced autonomous technology, the initiative hoped to help Volvo understand how customers interact with self-driving cars.
However, the automaker appears to have tweaked that plan in a recent press release. Instead of families helping Volvo test new autonomous vehicles, they’ll help develop them by cruising around in well-equipped XC90s. While we can’t cry foul too loudly, Volvo has used highly suggestive language for the last few years. It previously claimed it would have “death-proof” cars on the road by 2020 and alluded to Drive Me using fully autonomous test vehicles — not commercially available models.
Many years ago, a friend of mine married the daughter of a local real estate kingpin. She was loud and large and her taste, as they say, was all in her mouth. She had her father’s friends build her a massive McMansion encased in beige stucco and filled to the brim with the latest furniture from Pottery Barn and gold-plated bathroom fixtures. She was a big believer in retail therapy.
I would go to their house and see dozens of freshly stuffed shopping bags from the local semi-upscale stores. Prada, Coach, Ann Taylor, the kind of stuff you find in the mall. It was all “Designed In California” or “Designed In Italy” or plastered with the name of a city: Donna Karan New York. But there was always a tag somewhere out of sight that said, “Made In China.” Almost without exception, it was ephemeral garbage, meant to be worn a few times then thrown away. The pleasure was 90 percent in the purchasing and 10 percent in the ownership.
So now we have this 2018 Volvo S90. Designed In Sweden, with a svelte, tasteful, proportional shape that makes the big barges from Benz and BMW look like ’99 Navigators by contrast. It’s a study in minimalist luxury, powered by a tiny engine and self-consciously focused on a low-consumption aesthetic yet possessed of enough backseat space to carry the King of Siam. As you will see below, it’s often delightful, frequently gratifying, and always respectable.
There’s just one little problem. The website might talk about “Scandinavian Design,” but just like everything you see at the outlet stores, the 2018 Volvo S90 T5 AWD is Made In China.
Building on a strategic partnership announced in August last year, Volvo has signed a framework agreement with Uber to sell “tens of thousands” of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021.
While reading the report, it was important for this author to keep in mind the challenge in affixing an actual definition to the words autonomous driving. There have been shouty voices in various parts of the internet disputing the terms autonomous, Autopilot, and self-driving. There is merit to these arguments.
Nevertheless, Volvo is working with Uber to create technology that will allow vehicles to move about without a driver providing input 100 percent of the time.
Through the end of September 2017, Americans have registered 13 times more Volvo V90 CCs than Volvo V90s, clarifying with purchasing habits what every auto industry observer, casual or professional, already knew.
Volvo’s surely not surprised, either. After all, if you want to acquire a low-slung Volvo V90, Volvo forces U.S. customers to actually order the car. (Perish the thought.)
Even less surprising is the frequency with which Volvo now sells wagons. Combined, the four V60 and V90 variants account for fewer than one-in-10 Volvo USA sales through the first three-quarters of 2017.
By nature, we’re skeptics. It’s in the job description.
Thus, while it’s hard not to fall in love with the idea of Volvo’s new 2020 Polestar 1 offspring — I mean, just look at it — we also know how hard it is to kickstart a new luxury brand, regardless of whether Polestar wants to sit far outside the luxury mainstream or right at the heart of the matter. We can’t help but wonder whether the Polestar 1 is not representative of the ideal luxury brand launch.
As doubters, as pessimists, as cynics, as preternatural killjoys, as wary realists, we have questions about this new upstart premium automotive entity. Many questions.
There’s something missing from the efficiently named Polestar 1, the first production vehicle unveiled by the world’s newest car brand: a Volvo badge.
Anyone who’s ever seen Volvo’s 2013 Concept Coupe will surely recognize the similarities between the two vehicles, but the slinky personal luxury coupe seen here is the one you’ll actually see plying a roadway near you, if you’re so lucky. Polestar, once a performance arm of Volvo Cars but now its own standalone subsidiary, plans a range of high-end electrified performance vehicles, of which the Polestar 1 is merely the first.
Packing a 600-horsepower plug-in hybrid powertrain and a body to die for, the 2+2 grand tourer makes great use of its sister division’s architecture, all paid for by corporate overlord Geely. The obvious similarities to the Volvo S90 isn’t an accident, as a bespoke version of that model’s platform lurks beneath its curvaceous flanks. However, that isn’t to say the Polestar 1 is just a Volvo in disguise.
Polestar said goodbye to Volvo Cars over the internet this week. While we like what Polestar does, the social media posting is a slightly sanctimonious. The brand will undoubtedly continue to use Volvo cars as a base for all of its upcoming builds and persist under the same corporate umbrella. It would be a bit like AMG wishing Mercedes-Benz a fond farewell in 2005 and then continuing to use its vehicles.
They’re technically separate entities but both AMG and Polestar exist as a result of the core brand and operate under the watchful eye of a much larger company — Daimler for AMG and Geely for Polestar. The only difference is that the Swedish performance arm is, like Volvo, focusing on electrification for added power while the Germans continue with rip-roaring internal combustion powerplants without even a hint of EV adoption.
Just kidding. Mercedes-AMG’s director of vehicle development, Drummond Jacoy, already confirmed the brand has to “reinvent” itself when it comes to electric cars, promising mild-hybrid applications last Janurary.
Reports last week that Geely-owned Volvo would double its investment in Berkeley County, South Carolina, were confirmed today by the Swedish automaker. Volvo’s investment rises to $1.1 billion, the employee count is expected to climb to 4,000, and the Charleston plant will build not one but two Volvo models.
Volvo announced its intention to build its South Carolina plant in May 2015. The first vehicles, set to be third-generation Volvo S60s, will begin rolling off the assembly line in the fall of 2018, just one year from now. By 2021, Volvo revealed today, the company will also be assembling its flagship SUV, the XC90, in South Carolina.
Surprised? Of course not.
Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture is turning out to be a little sexier than one might have imagined. With the arrival of the XC40 we were expecting something akin to a baby X90, but we ended up getting a better-looking Range Rover Evoque. It’s certainly reminiscent of its bigger brothers, yet possesses an individual sense of style that Volvo claims will make its way into other models using the CMA platform.
All of this style is likely to come at the expensive of rearward visibility. We haven’t sat behind the wheel of a XC40 but we can already tell you that bulky C-pillar is probably going to get in the way from time to time. That said, it looks so good that it’s difficult to truly fault it — especially when the small SUV is fitted with a black or white contrasting roof.
Offsetting the chic styling is a modest amount of plastic cladding along the bottom of the vehicle. This ought to provide some necessary protection for urban owners forced to park close to banged-up models with drivers less inclined to appreciate the XC40’s unibody beauty.
Volvo continues to look forward to real U.S. sales recovery, meeting the goal of record U.S. sales volume by 2020, and a fourth consecutive year of record global sales. To get there, Volvo is already altering plans at the Charleston, South Carolina, assembly plant where construction is already in full swing.
Altering? According to Reuters and Charleston’s Post and Courier, it’s more like deciding that the plant should be twice as large, build twice as many vehicles, house more than twice as many employees, and cost twice as much.
Volvo has lofty expectations for its presence in the U.S. luxury car market, but the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker is going to rely on a new boss to dramatically elevate the brand’s U.S. volume over the next three years.
Lex Kerssemakers, a Dutchman who’s been in charge of Volvo’s North American region for nearly three years, is being shuffled into the equivalent position as Volvo Cars’ senior vice president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. It’s essentially a straight-up trade: Anders Gustaffson moves over from his role as senior vice president for Europe/Middle East/Africa to inherit Kerssemakers old job, according to Automotive News.
The new boss overseeing Volvo’s U.S. operations brings a retail-oriented perspective, having held his first job as a 14-year-old at his parents’ Volvo dealer in Sweden. Anders Gustaffson also held a role as CEO of Hertz in Sweden and was the leader of Volvo in its home market, as well.
Gustaffson’s predecessor —also his successor — hasn’t shied away from placing a large amount of pressure on Gustaffson’s shoulders. Through the first seven months of 2017, Volvo’s U.S. sales are down 9 percent, diving three times faster than the industry at large. Yet according to Kerssemakers, “Volvo should sell 150,000 vehicles a year in the U.S. [by 2020],” Automotive News reports.
That’s an 80-percent jump in the next three years. Get to work, Mr. Gustafsson.
Volvo Canada flew me and other automotive journalists to Denver, Colorado to drive the all new 2018 Volvo XC60. The XC60 is Volvo’s latest participation to the current compact luxury crossover boom, one in which it aims at upping its current market share from 3.9 percent to seven.
Full disclosure: Volvo wanted us to drive the XC60, so they flew us to Denver to do so.
It comes as no surprise that the XC60’s crosshairs are aimed directly at established German rivals such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLC. Except, this Volvo has a special weapon up its sleeve: a 400-hp, plug-in hybrid T8 version. During my drive throughout the picturesque Colorado countryside, I had the opportunity to get plenty of seat time between both T8 and T6 versions, which not only differentiate themselves by their claimed power figures and efficiency, but also by their entirely different driving dynamics.
Volvo wants you to reconsider your hauling needs.
Sure, crossovers are a hot commodity these days, coveted for their available cargo space and all-weather capability, but Volvo — despite selling a pair of lofty crossovers itself — believes you should ditch the SUV in favor of a car. And that car is the Volvo V90.
What we have here is an attractively styled, stretched five-door Scandinavian hatchback that carries Volvo’s renowned wagon legacy confidently into the future. It’s a car that places emphasis on driving dynamics and safety first, but won’t let you down if you have a family, a few pets, and some gear to haul around over the weekend.
The 2018 Volvo V90 was brought to this world to elbow the crossover in the throat.
Volvo, once solely known for making sensible and safe Swedish bricks constructed primarily of bridge girders, has lately been building some fantastic-looking machinery. Witness the fabulous crimson longroof pictured above.
When Ford sold Volvo Cars to the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2009, I feared the company would be pillaged and plundered for its intellectual properties, with the skeleton of its former self hung out to dry behind the woodshed. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Volvo is better than ever.
There’s no denying the Volvo 40.1 concept that previewed this fall’s production XC40 appears both to be sufficiently Volvo-like and sufficiently unlike anything else.
If the actual Volvo XC40 maintains this relatively unusual design, Volvo will have a viable, eye-catching alternative to the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Infiniti QX30, and Mercedes-Benz GLA before most luxury auto brands.
As for the Q3, X1, QX30, and GLA, Volvo isn’t entirely sold on their merits.
Not only is Volvo updating its aged XC60 crossover for the 2018 model year, it’s also turning up the heat. The handsome next-generation model will gain a Polestar-tuned T8 variant, Volvo’s performance arm has announced, meaning XC60 buyers will have a fourth output choice to select from this fall.
As you’ll recall, Polestar isn’t just a specialty house tasked with tuning Volvo products anymore. The Swedish automaker recently spun off Polestar into its own brand, with the tuning division rebranded as Polestar Engineered. It’s the latter entity that’s tasked with massaging 421 horsepower out of the top-flight hybrid version of the XC60.
However, now that Polestar is in the business of building its own standalone models, crossovers and sedans just won’t cut it. For its first Polestar-badged model, the new automaker wants a big, fast coupe.
Volvo has been pushing “non-traditional” powertrains for a while. The company, encouraged heavily by its Chinese owner, has already begun moving toward limiting engine options in the very near future while focusing heavily on electrification. In 2014, the brand said all of its cars would be offered with a plug-in hybrid variant to supplement purely gas-powered models. Now it’s taking things further, setting a definitive timeline for the shift and stating that every new model after 2019 will be a hybrid or purely battery-driven vehicle.
“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson explained in an official statement on Wednesday. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”
Who knew strange animals born with a sack stuck to their bellies would prove to be the largest hurdle in the advent of driverless vehicles? In areas where you’ll find marsupials, anyway.
While North American drivers have long grown used to smacking deer with their personal vehicles, it’s a different story in the land of Paul Hogan, Nicole Kidman, and the amiable fellow from Jurassic Park. A full 80 percent of vehicle-animal collisions on that extremely large island and/or continent involve a kangaroo. It now seems the manner in which the limber creatures get around has created a headache for a certain Scandinavian car company — one hoping to lead the industry in hands-off driving.
Think of it as a green brand known for producing some very blue cars. Polestar, Volvo’s performance wing, will be spun off into an electrified automaker under a new plan from the Swedish car manufacturer.
Expected to do battle with the likes of Tesla and BMW’s i sub-brand, future Polestars — like their gasoline-powered predecessors — will stake out space in the performance arena, only this time in a different niche.
Daring. Thinking outside the box, as it were (a three box, naturally). Putting forth a car which is a bit risky and against the grain of the accepted beige
sedan CUV. Increasingly, automakers are unwilling or unable to play in this space. Regulations, fuel economy and stiff competition force each manufacturer in line with the others. A midsize vehicle that’s almost identical to the offering at the dealer across the street is not out of the question.
But there has to be an answer to my Question of the Day, which is thus: Which modern auto manufacturer is the most daring?
With the stately S90 sedan and V90 wagon out of the way, Volvo’s main focus falls on the upcoming S40 and XC40 compact sedan and crossover. In the middle ground, the Swedish automaker has already unveiled the handsomely redesigned 2018 XC60.
Will it stop there? Not according to Volvo Car USA’s president and CEO.
Last night, Volvo released a teaser video for a new vehicle it labeled as its “smallest coupe ever,” and I can’t help but feel that its marketing department dropped the ball on the timing.
The video introduces it as an ultra-modern, limited edition representative of a model specifically aimed at the next generation of consumers. Then, Volvo hinted that it might even be autonomous, and I assumed this was some wild concept vehicle never to enter production — but Volvo is already building it.
Of course, I felt like a moron when the big reveal finally came.
Uber’s infamously embattled autonomous car division took another hit Saturday after one of its self-driving Volvo XC90 test cars was involved in an accident in Tempe, Arizona. The technology company has since halted the pilot program, parking its self driving fleets in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco until further notice.
Volvo denies that it wants to return to publicly listed status, but a new round of fundraising has many believing the Swedish automaker is about to end its 20-year absence from the stock market.
According to the Financial Times, the Geely-owned company hopes to raise about $500 million from a new batch of preference shares. Unlike the last time it held out its hat, this time Volvo wants Chinese buy-in.
Though its debut will lag that of Chevrolet’s Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, Volvo’s first entry into the world of all-electric vehicles looks to be right on par with the current generation’s maximum range and requisite financial investment. Starting between $35,000 and $40,000 when it debuts in 2019, the Swedish EV should be capable of at least 250 miles between charges.
Away from the main stage of the Geneva International Motor Show, CEO of Volvo America Lex Kerssemakers indicated to journalists that the standards set by the Bolt would be the benchmark. “That’s what I put in as the prerequisite for the United States,” Kerssemakers said. “If I want to make a point in the United States, if I want to make volumes, that’s what I believe I need.”
When the Volvo XC60 first entered the premium compact CUV market, the world was still fully in the grip of a financial crisis, Twitter was relatively new, and America was transitioning from its 43rd to 44th president.
Despite enjoying remarkably stable sales from its solid entry in the wildly competitive segment, Volvo clearly felt it was time for a change. And what better strategy exists besides emulating the model’s critically acclaimed bigger brother, the XC90?
The answer: none. Fully made over, the second-generation 2018 Volvo XC60 revealed today at the Geneva Motor Show borrows some of the XC90’s best hardware and design cues, resulting in a strikingly handsome and grown-up crossover.
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