Tag: volvo s90

By on August 30, 2018

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”…

(Read More…)

By on December 8, 2017

Ding dong, fake luxury is dead. I should be more specific — I don’t mean Fake Luxury in the Caddy-Calais-vs-Ninety-Eight-Regency sense. I mean just plain old fake luxury. You know what fake luxury is. Invicta watches, Michael Kors suits, everything you could possibly buy at the Pottery Barn or in most American malls. Mass-produced sweatshop junk gilded and pimped for the administrative assistant nervously considering how to spend a $250 Christmas bonus.

Real luxury is on a roll everywhere from Savile Row to Maranello, swept away on a wave of Gilded Age cash and the ever-increasing leverage power of capital, but fake luxury is in a tailspin. Patek and Vacheron will thrive, Rolex will hold steady, Breitling will collapse. Airlines are feverishly revamping their widebodies into “super-high-J” configurations, replacing rows of packed prole seats with sleeper beds and sliding-door suites. It’s a good time to be a private jet pilot, a good time to be an UberPool driver, hell on earth to be anything in between.

Two weeks ago I told you about the Chinese Volvo S90, the Volvo S90 that is built in China. It’s the equivalent of a department store suit “designed in Sweden” but constructed by the lowest bidder. I told readers on my site that the market would adjust for this, that the price of Chinese Volvos would quickly drop into the basement while Swedish Volvos stayed strong.

I was right, young Skywalker… about a great many things.

(Read More…)

By on November 27, 2017

2018 Volvo S90, Image: Jack Baruth

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.

(Read More…)

By on November 15, 2017

Image: 2017 GAC Trumpchi GS8It’s no use continuing with the idealistic notion that North America will reject advances from Chinese-made cars on our shores. The Buick Envision is Fabrique en Chine, as well as the long-wheelbase Volvo S60, and more recently the Volvo S90. Yesterday, Steph Willems reported on a patent filing from the Guangzhou Automobile Company for its largest SUV offering, the GS8.

You don’t have to like the upcoming Chinese onslaught, but it’s necessary to accept it as reality. So, today we’re asking you to twist your mind and wring from it your thoughts on what it would take for a Chinese auto manufacturer to be successful in North America on a large scale.

(Read More…)

By on October 18, 2017

2020 Polestar 1 profile - Image: PolestarBy 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. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi confirms it is going to shoehorn another SUV into its lineup to tempt those utility-hungry Americans.

That, Volvo wants everyone to buy S90s from their beds, Fiat Chrysler isn’t having a dealer’s trash talk, UAW bolsters its ranks, and your gas is going up … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on February 28, 2016

Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

The Environmental Protection Agency is pointing at its watch and glaring at Volkswagen.

That, an opening for the Swedes, an electric propulsion prediction, a high-end guy gets a new job, and Tesla gets targeted in Hoosierville … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on January 11, 2016

Location Front Quarter Volvo S90 Mussel Blue

After winning the North American Truck of the Year award with the excellent XC90, Volvo is clearly on a roll. Get it? Volvo is Latin for “I roll.”

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.)

(Read More…)

By on May 17, 2014

 

I love old rear wheel drive Volvos.

(Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • NormSV650: Acura delays the Honda turbocharged announcment until another auto show.
  • forward_look: Power supplied by the highway?? We can’t even have long-range electric trains in ‘Murica.
  • forward_look: So buy a used Leaf. Cheap.
  • Felix Hoenikker: Given the absurd bed height of full sized pickups, any feasible gadget to lower cargo should be...
  • JimZ: Yeah, I’m sure Gwynne Shotwell and SpaceX’s 7,000 other employees do nothing but sit around...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States