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.
Volvo has officially revealed pricing for its newest wagon, the V90.
Available in two trims, the V90 R-Design will start at $49,950, while Inscription will start at $51,950.
Both come standard with Volvo’s T5 turbocharged four-cylinder, which sends 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. A more powerful T6 four-cylinder, fed with turbocharged and supercharged air, will be available as a $6,000 option. Those models send 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels as standard.
After surviving a very rough patch that could have easily sunk it for good, Volvo is feeling confident enough to be boastful, albeit in a restrained, Scandinavian way.
The Swedish automaker is riding high after posting record worldwide sales last year, and its CEO claims the groundwork is in place to have that trend continue in 2017 and beyond. Part of that optimism lies in a South Carolina plant expected to come online in 2018.
While the Berkeley County plant will be home to the next-generation S60 sedan, a second promised model is no clearer now than when shovels broke ground in 2015.
I’m always on the lookout for small-production figure, special-edition cars during my junkyard explorations, and we have admired such classics as the Etienne Aigner Volkswagen Golf and the Daytona 500 Pace Car Pontiac Grand Prix in past installments of the Junkyard Find series.
Today, we’re moving into the 21st century, for a genuine, numbers-matching, one-of-650-made 2002 Volvo Ocean Race Edition V70 Cross Country, spotted in that hotbed of nautical action: Denver.
A few years after Alexander Graham Bell beat Elisha Gray in patenting the telephone, someone conceptualized the telephonoscope and the world became bedeviled by the notion of seeing someone while you conversed remotely. Video phones appeared in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Jay Roach’s timeless classic Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), and just about everywhere in between. They even cropped up in real life. AT&T tested the waters in the 1920s by pairing mechanical television receivers to telephones before blowing half a billion dollars on the Picturephone a few decades later.
Things are different today. You can easily bring up any number of applications on your hand-held device and video chat with people from practically anywhere on the planet. However, we never really got a dedicated video phone in our cars, creating a compellingly retro-futuristic need for such a thing.
Then Volvo announced that it was adding Skype for Business to its 90 Series cars and I began imagining a universe where I would notify besuited men — face-to-face — that I did not have anymore time to talk because I was much too busy driving. It was a perfect fantasy where I told nervous industrialists which robots should build the smaller robots and who to fire all from the comfort of my mobile office — and while looking them right in their terrified eyes.
Volvo has only recently started exhuming itself from its post-recession sales hole and pushing its disastrous fling with Ford into the past. Turning a corner, the company has sold over 470,000 cars so far this year, aided largely by the successes of its XC90 SUV. Operating earnings having tripled in the first half of this year.
Now, the company has raised 5 billion Swedish crowns — $532 million — from the sale of newly-issued preference shares to a group of Swedish institutional investors.
All signs point to a confident company that wants back into the stock market.
Uber proudly released a fleet of eleven driverless Volvos onto the streets of San Francisco Wednesday morning and one or two immediately started running amok. One person tweeted about seeing a self-driving vehicle nearly hitting another car, while another posted a video showing an autonomous tech-equipped XC90 breezing through a red light and active pedestrian cross-walk.
Before the end of the program’s first day, people were clamoring for Uber to explain the incidents and the California Department of Motor Vehicles had sent the ride-hailing company a cease and desist letter for operating without a permit.
Volvo has named Henrik Green as its new head of researching and development, replacing Peter Mertens, who was usurped by Audi in November.
Green, 43, entered Volvo’s executive branch in October as the senior vice president of sales, production planning, and customer service. Volvo says the vacant position, which was created for Green specifically, will be filled eventually. With Mertens gone, Volvo is depending upon Green to implement plug-in hybrid drivetrains throughout the company’s fleet and develop an autonomous vehicle by 2021.
Do you remember the last Volvo commercial you saw? Or any Volvo commercial?
If the answer is “no,” you clearly haven’t seen the videos offered up by Volvo Trucks, which somehow manage to make 18-wheelers seem as alluring as a two-seat droptop. By staging stunts that compel viewers to seek out a heavy truck license, the company’s online videos have given the truck maker a strong media presence and plenty of word of mouth.
It’s too bad that Volvo Cars (long since snatched from under the Volvo Group corporate umbrella) can’t do the same thing.
Toyota’s going to market the new Prius Prime with laser-like precision. Is it because they want to embrace cutting-edge advertising methods, or is it because they don’t see it as a vehicle with particularly broad appeal?
That, BMW thinks it might want to keep an unpopular model around for another generation, Volvo issues a voluntary recall on seat belts, and Toyota and Nissan agree that their prospects have looked better in North America… after the break!
Ford is offering a new turnkey GT4 series racecar, meaning ‘Stang owners can now race on a track instead of just strip mall parking lots.
That, Volvo is moving S90 production east, a Texas woman is suing Honda and Takata for almost fatally spraying her with bits of her own car, and Mopar is letting you refresh old cars with new Hemis with a lot less hassle… after the break!
First it was Hyundai flinging special discounts in the direction of imminently carless Volkswagen diesel owners. Now Volvo has added its name to the list of automakers attempting to woo this unique crop of vehicular nomads.
The approval of Volkswagen’s massive settlement deal with U.S. owners and environmental regulators on Tuesday is apparently a sales opportunity not to be missed, but Volvo is approaching it from a different direction than Hyundai.
Forget Chevrolet’s cringe-inducing launch of the first-generation Spark — this could be the biggest hipster Millennial marketing/branding effort to date.
Naturally, it’s for an affordable car brand, but with a difference: this brand is completely new and its products have yet to be revealed. Lynk & Co, a new subsidiary of Volvo parent company Geely, launches on October 20, Reuters reports, and it’s clear it wants to be every free-spirited young adult’s first car.
What a difference a lift makes.
Always the purveyors of something different, Sweden’s Volvo Car Corporation has officially lifted the veil on its newest product — a lifted, all-terrain version of its elegant V90 wagon.
Just don’t call it a crossover. It’s a Cross Country.
Volvo is determined to make a splash in the U.S. small car market when the next-generation 40-series cars arrive, and it’s already laying the groundwork.
The Swedish automaker filed a trademark application for the V40 name on August 31, paving the way for a five-door hatch that will ride atop the company’s new compact modular architecture (CMA).
Volvo is partnering with ride-hailing service Uber, a $300 million deal expected to spawn a fleet of self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads.
Both companies plan to develop their own autonomous technology using a Volvo “base” vehicle, but Pittsburgh will see a crop of self-driving Swedes by the end of the year, Automotive News reports.
There are upsides to autonomous driving, but Volvo drivers are still made of flesh, with blood pumping though their veins.
Unlike that hazy group of people who lose their minds with excitement at the thought of always being a passenger in their own car, the Swedish automaker isn’t about to take away the act of driving from its customers.
Volvo set a corporate high-water mark for speed today by launching two new Polestar models, each with enough power to make a tenured Vermont professor blush.
Dropping two cylinders while gaining 22 horsepower, the upgraded S60 and V60 Polestars are part of Volvo’s effort to boost the visibility of its performance division.
The 2.0-liter Drive-E four-cylinder in the S60 and V60 Polestar (replacing the previous blown straight six) was worked over by Polestar engineers to make 367 horsepower and 347 pounds-feet of torque. The mill, which makes 240 horsepower in T5 models, gains muscle from a supercharger, larger turbocharger and air intake, and a higher-capacity fuel pump.
How is it that there are still sufficient Volvo 140 s left, more than 40 years after production of the original Swedish brick ceased, that you’ll still find plenty of them in American wrecking yards? Not in the quantities you’ll find of their 240 descendants, of course, but anybody driving a 140 today should have no problem getting parts.
The Volvo 140 was the first of the beloved brick-shaped Swedes. It was built for the 1967 through 1975 model years, and it served as the basis for the legendary 240. I owned one, briefly, and found it was a very competent machine for its era. These cars are not worth big money today, unless they’re in excellent cosmetic shape, so the ones that stay on the street tend to do so because their owners can keep them running for cheap.
No? Never mind.
Following up the SUV is a new large luxury sedan, the S90, sharing much with the big truck.
(There once was a time when CUVs were developed from sedans. What a world we live in.)
Forget waiting until 12:30 p.m. Eastern for the official reveal, here’s the new Volvo S90 right here in all its glory.
In addition to everything we’ve already known: Thor’s Hammer headlights, large 9-inch touchscreen, Pilot Assist semiautonomous driving and twin-charged four cylinder engine (with plug-in hybrid coming later), the S90 will get large animal detection as part of its City Safe features.
The moose of Gothenburg fear no more.
Volvo’s newest concept car is so advanced it doesn’t need sheet metal, wheels, doors, headlights or even an engine, man.
The Volvo Concept 26, unveiled Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, is the company’s vision for autonomous driving — which, at least publicly, it’s beating many of the big boys to the punch. The vision apparently includes a center-mounted tablet and an automatic 26-inch screen that emerges from the friggin’ dash.
I understand the logic behind the modern crossover, especially in Sweden.
Sweden’s 360,000 mile network of public and private roads is only 30-percent paved. That leaves some 252,000 miles of unpaved glory to explore. This high percentage of unpaved roads explains why Volvos have long had reasonable ground clearance, why the Swedes invented the headlamp wiper, why the XC70 exists and why Haldex was founded there.
The concept of the crossover is to give you the efficiency of a traditional “car” blended with some offroad ability normally found in a truck-based SUV. (Of course, the modern American crossover is little more than an all-wheel-drive minivan with less practical seats.) While other companies created boxy crossovers like the Highlander and CR-V, Volvo took a European approach by starting with a station wagon, adding all-wheel drive and jacking the ride height up to create the first V70 Cross Country. The result was more aerodynamic than an SUV, had the ride height of a crossover, the practicality of a station wagon and the driving position of a car. Hold that thought.
Car companies should know better than to send detailed drawings of unreleased cars to Chinese toymakers.
Because they don’t, here is the new Volvo V90 wagon in toy-car form. The wagon, which appeared on CarNewsChina, appears to take several cues from our newly favorite Swedish car, the XC90.
The wagon sports headlights from the XC90 as well as the front fascia from Alex Dykes’ favorite new car.
Many of you have asked why we bother to review a car we’ve already reviewed based on a few hours at a launch event. The all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 is a textbook example of why more time with a car allows for a more complete review.
At launch events, you have no time to perform acceleration or brake tests of a vehicle (and, of course, you aren’t testing the car on the same circuit that the rest of the cars have been tested upon) and you have no ability to drive the competition back-to-back to get a sense of comparison. There is a reason that first drive reviews tend to be fact based: it’s hard to review a car in a vacuum.
So why is the XC90 a textbook example? Because of my own biases. Biases are interesting things. They can blind you to a car’s faults, or they can lead you to overcompensate and find fault.
After digesting my time with the XC90, I started falling into the latter camp. Edmunds 0-60 tested the XC90 and found it slower than expected. I started wondering if I had been wearing rose-colored glasses and asked myself: “Was it really that good?” Therefore, I had to get my hand on one again so I could run it through our battery of tests and drive it on my own for a week to find the answer.
The answer: It is better.
Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you get it wrong. And sometimes you get it so wrong we all figure you were just playing a practical joke.
Elevated wagons can be successful. Just look at the outrageous success of the Subaru Outback or the staying power of Volvo’s own XC70. Elevated sedans? Consumers aren’t really into the concept. Thus, after selling 50 copies of the S60 Cross Country in its abbreviated launch month of August, Volvo USA sold only 29 S60 Cross Countrys in September, one for every 1.7 states in the union.
That’s not a lot, a fact made all the more clear when you consider that Volvo sold 1,182 copies of the XC90 in September alone. Because sometimes you get it right.
Automotive News Europe reported that Volvo will offer a new compact crossover, based on a new architecture, in 2018 that will likely be called the XC40.
The crossover will be built in Ghent, Belgium and possibly in China, using the same platform being developed for compact cars in Europe.
The crossover will get Volvo power plants that include a hybrid variant. It would also likely get some sort of semi-autonomous driving feature as the Swedish automaker further develops its technology.
Volvo Cars President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson announced Thursday in Washington, DC, that the automaker would “accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode,” making Volvo one of the first automakers to solve one of many important legal issues that face autonomous vehicles.
Volvo made the announcement just days after launching a project in Sweden that will see 100 Volvo XC90s with autonomous functionality hitting the roads around Gothenburg in 2017.
Next year, Volvo said it would make available in Sweden 100 autonomous driving XC90s that will be capable of driving themselves on roughly 50 kilometers (31 miles) of roads near Gothenburg.
The technology, which is dubbed IntelliSafe Auto Pilot, adds self-driving to technology already available in its cars; under 30 mph Auto Pilot will drive an XC90 as long as it senses a hand on the steering wheel.
According to the automaker, the car will notify the driver if it enters a stretch of road where it can drive itself. The driver would need to pull both steering wheel-mounted paddles to engage the autonomous driving features. When the car is about to leave self-driving roads, it alerts the driver that they have one minute to regain control of the car or the XC90 will come to a stop.
This one we should have seen in the cards already: Last month, Volvo announced that it purchased Volvo tuner Polestar to bring in-house and churning out more models for eager hands.
Last year, Volvo announced it had developed a triple-turbo, 2-liter four that could produce 450 horsepower.
It’s entirely likely, TTAC has learned, that the two will meet in a Polestar-branded XC90.
Details about the car were few and far between, but the engine combination and newly branded vehicle would up the ante on what Volvo powertrain chief told Auto Express earlier this year.
Instead of slotting between the 316-horsepower XC90 T6 and the 400-horsepower hybrid T8, the Polestar version would offer the 450-horsepower variant, with a 48-volt supercharger boosting twin turbochargers on the craziest family crossover.
Volvo will bring its smaller, compact-sized V40 wagon, its related crossover and long-wheelbase, Chinese-built S60 sedan to America, Autoblog is reporting.
The newest generation of the Volkswagen Golf-sized V40 wagon is being built with the U.S. in mind, Volvo senior vice president Alan Visser told media in the Netherlands. The earliest it could reach the United States would be 2017.
Visser also said the XC40, a compact crossover based on the V40 Cross Country, would make its way to the States shortly after the V40.
After the sale of Polestar to Volvo, the Swedish automaker is cranking up output and bringing more than double the number of high-performance sedans and wagons to the U.S. for 2016.
Also, there will be more wagons than sedans wearing Polestar badging this time around, as Volvo states 60 percent of the 265 total Polestar units will be V60 models.
Volvo has purchased Swedish high-performance tuner Polestar, the automaker announced Tuesday. The company will own and operate Polestar as an in-house performance division much like Ford’s SVT division or Subaru’s STI group (anything other than another Mercedes-AMG or BMW M Division reference).
You could be forgiven for thinking Volvo owned Polestar already — the Swedish automaker already exclusively contracted with the Swedish tuner in 2013 to produce the V60 and S60 Polestar editions and the two have worked together since the 1990s.
Volvo said in the medium-term it would double output of Polestar branded cars — which could mean more than 80 sedans and 40 wagons a year coming to the United States.
Volvo announced today it will warranty any replaced part and labor, not including wear-and-tear items and accessories, for the life of the car. The coverage extends only to service at dealerships.
Volvo owners will pay for the initial replacement parts and labor on vehicles with expired warranties, but Volvo will pay for any additional service on that part for as long as the owner has the car. The parts warranty covers all models from all years and will be honored at all North American Volvo dealerships, according to the automaker.
Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months.
Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020.
Volvo seems to be on the long road to recovery. Although sales have continued to slip in the USA, the numbers were up worldwide last year. In an interesting twist, 2014 was also the first year more Volvos were sold in China than North America. That could be cause-and-effect since Volvo had been more focused on their European-only new compact sedan and wagon. 2016 finally showers some Swedish love on America with a complete redesign of the XC90, the SUV originally designed for us. Because China is now a bigger market than we are, this XC90 isn’t just for us, but for China and the growing number of big crossovers clogging up Europe as well.
Volvo may not have invented the wagon but no company has as much dedication to the practical cargo hauler as the Swedish brand. With the new V60 Cross Country they have expanded to six wagons world-wide (V40, V40 Cross Country, V60, V60 Cross Country, V70 and XC70). Wagon fans sad that Volvo isn’t bringing their smaller boxes to the USA may be relieved to know the V60 Cross Country is not replacing the V60. This means that for the first time in a long time, we have access to three Swedish wagons on our shores.
Volvo is in midst of a turnaround. Sold by Ford and acquired by Chinese Geely Automobile, Volvo representatives see the company heading on a path similar to Jaguar and Land Rover. With this fresh injection of money, in recent years we have seen many concept cars, existing product updates, amazing new engines, and the first all-new post-Ford model, the handsome XC90. Refreshed for 2014, the 2015.5 XC60 receives further minor upgrades, including an app!
Volvo might have been one of the beneficiaries of the headlong rush towards European non-luxury in the Seventies but it, like Porsche, was permanently crippled by the American public’s confusion of “unhurried model cycle” with “should only make one specific car, forever”. For the boys from Stuttgart, it was the Yankee preference for the 911 that warped the next thirty years of their product plan into 911-looking things that were not at all like the 911, even if they said “911” on the rump.
Volvo made a different choice when they decided that the twenty-seven years between the 1966 debut of the 144 and the final 1993-model-year 240 were enough and that it was proper to make a clean break between those boxy RWD sedans and the boxy FWD sedans that followed. In so doing, they both doomed the company to permanent irrelevance and inadvertently created a cult.
Is it really necessary to beat the dead horse again? We know that enthusiasts love wagons, demand more wagons, praise wagons and don’t buy wagons. We should be lucky we have any wagons left in our marketplace. The Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy wagons gave way to the Allroad and Outback, two jacked-up, cladding-encrusted faux-crossovers that are really just wagons by another name. Volvo did the same thing too, axing the V70 wagon while retaining the XC70. And then they relented.
There was a time when wagons roamed the interstates, ferrying families from one National Lampoon vacation to another. With the rise of the crossover, those looking for the original “looks practical but handles like a sedan” mode of transport have few options, and most of them live in the luxury segment. Let’s count them before we go too far. We have the soon-to-be-cancelled Acura TSX, the last-generation Cadillac CTS , the Volkswagen Jetta, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 3-Series and the Toyota Prius V. Even if you expand things to include “off-road wagons”the list only grows by three (Audi Allroad, Subaru Outback and Volvo XC70.) Despite the shrinking market, Volvo’s brand has long been associated with practical wagons. It’s almost hard to believe it has been three full years since Volvo sold one in America. That’s about to change with the 2015 V60.
The second of three concepts hinting at Volvo’s new styling direction, the XC Coupe Concept has been unveiled ahead of its official debut at next week’s 2014 Detroit Auto Show.
If you had to pick a Q-Car, the vehicle you see above would be nobody’s first choice. Something like a Camry V6, a Pentastar Avenger, or perhaps even a Verano Turbo with a Trifecta tune would be a more suitably anonymous roller skate with enough power to pummel most “civilian” cars on the street. Or perhaps a Regal GS. In grey or some other nodescript color. I am thinking about this as I wander aimlessly within my lane on Lakeshore Boulevard, the Polestar-tuned I6 humming along at a sedate 1800 rpm in 6th gear. CBC Radio is broadcasting yet another nebulous documentary extolling Canada’s secular state religion of diversity, as my Costco grocery list scrolls through my head. How banal and bourgeois.
And then I hear the staccato vocalization of a small block Chevy V8 breathing through a set of big pipes. A glance in the mirror reveals a 4th generation Camaro convertible coming up fast behind me in my mirrors. In a flash, he’s past me by a few car lengths, and I can just make out the “SS” badge on the decklid. If I were in another T6-powered Volvo, say, my parents XC60 T6, I’d step on the gas, wait a brief second for the turbo to spool up, and hope that I’d be in the powerband long enough to catch him. With a standard T6, peak power (295 hp) comes in at 5600 rpm while peak torque (325 lb-ft) arrives at 2100-4200 rpm In this car though; 354 lb-ft comes in from 3000-3600 rpm, while all 325 horsepower are available from 5400 all the way to redline. From a roll, this car is a monster.
It doesn’t take long after nailing the throttle for the gap to close between us, and while the Camaro is droning out its V8 song, there’s just a muted hum from the Volvo’s blocky hood, while barely audible diverter valve noises can be heard through the open windows. A red light conspires to bring us next to one another, and I can see him regarding me with the faux-menacing glare typical to most underemployed 20-somethings brimming with insecurities. He’s much more handsome than I am, and his girlfriend is in the passenger seat. I smile and give him the thumbs up.
“You think you can beat me?” No change in demeanor from him.
“Actually, I do.” I respond.
There’s no revving, no theatrics, no Fast and Furious Limp Bizkit sound track despite the corny but spontaneous exchange. But when the light goes green, he disappears behind me. And I didn’t even get a good look at his girlfriend.
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