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Archive for the ‘Volvo’ Category

Polestar’s First All-Electric Model Breaks Cover

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.03, 2019

Polestar hints that its first all-electric model will adopt a "fastback" shape.

Volvo’s electric performance division is finally charging forward, the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 getting ready for production, while the sub-brand’s first all-electric model is set to be “fully revealed in the coming weeks,” it confirmed today.

According to a statement, “The car will go into production shortly after the long-range hybrid Polestar 1, which will enter production later this year.” The automaker also emphasized that Polestar 2 will take direct aim at Tesla’s Model 3.

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The teaser shows an overhead view of the Polestar 2’s rounded back end, so not much to go on beyond the fact that it features very aggressively raked rear glass flowing into a rather short trunk lid. That would suggest either a hatchback or an edgy crossover design, Polestar calling it a “fastback.”

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Mercedes Enjoys Lead Late in Luxury Sales Championship

Sport-utes carrying luxury vehicle makers to strong sales.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.04, 2018

The newly updated Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is helping the automaker to another U.S. sales crown.

Mercedes-Benz is leading the race for the luxury vehicle sales crown for the third consecutive year, heading into December with an edge over its closest competitors, BMW and Lexus.

Mercedes reported it sold 31,022 vehicles in November, an increase of 0.6% from November 2017. On a year-to-date basis, Mercedes-Benz sales totaled 283,943, with an additional 34,062 units for vans and 1,154 vehicles for smart, bringing total sales volume to 319,159.

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“Demand for our SUV line-up including the GLA, GLC and new G-Class combined with increases for the E-Class and new CLS fueled results for the month,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of MBUSA. “We anticipate a solid close to the final weeks of 2018.” (more…)

Volvo Expecting to Slow Ramp-Up of Charleston Plant Due to Trump Tariffs

Hiring to slow; impact could be long-term if some production shifts to China.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.29, 2018

Volvo President & CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the tariffs implemented by the Trump administration are forcing a production slow down at its new Charleston, S.C. plant.

Volvo expects to slow the pace of expansion at its new factory near Charleston, South Carolina, due to the Trump trade war with China.

The move could impact how quickly the automaker expands production at the $1.1 billion plant, as well as the pace at which it brings on new workers. The workforce was expected to nearly triple, to around 4,000, by early in the coming decade with the addition of a second model at the plant. But some production now could be shifted to China, potentially having a long-term impact on plans for the factory.

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Volvo issued an official statement Thursday noting, “trade issues may impact the pace of the expansion.” But in conversations with reporters at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, Volvo’s global CEO Håkan Samuelsson took things further, indicating the production ramp-up will slow down. (more…)

Advanced Driving Systems Can Be Misleading and Don’t Always Work as Promised

Autopilot, ProPilot, Pilot Assist, names can confuse motorists expecting full autonomy.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.16, 2018

This Model X crash reveals the short comings of Autopilot and, potentially, other similarly named advanced driver assistance systems.

Soon after Tesla first introduced its Autopilot system in October 2014, videos began popping up on YouTube showing owners doing things like jumping into the back seat while their cars cruised down the highway. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk was shown in his Model S sedan, hands out of the window, rather than on the steering wheel.

After a couple high-visibility crashes, Tesla now takes pain to make sure its owners know Autopilot isn’t a fully autonomous system – at least not yet. But not everyone seems to be getting the message. And it’s not just Tesla. With Nissan adding ProPilot Assist to some new models and Volvo opting for Pilot Assist.

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The new car market is experiencing a flood of new advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, that claim to help drivers stay in their lanes, brake automatically, and even change lanes by simply tapping the turn signal. But testing by AAA finds that many of these systems don’t work as promised – at least all the time. And, worse, the names manufacturers have chosen may lead to a false sense of security, some motorists believing these systems can but drive all but fully autonomously. (more…)

Volvo’s Care Subscription Program Key to Growth Plans

VCNA chief acknowledges reliability concerns but says problems, warranty costs, are tumbling.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.08, 2018

Volvo Cars North America CEO Anders Gustafsson with images of some of the first workers at the automaker's new Charleston plant.

U.S. new vehicle sales are on course to post their second consecutive decline as 2018 draws to a close, but you’d have a hard time telling that if you were just looking at Volvo’s numbers.

The Swedish automaker has posted a 27% jump in demand through the end of October and, with more products ready to land in U.S. showrooms, Volvo Cars USA CEO Anders Gustafsson said Thursday he is optimistic the company can keep its momentum growing.

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Several factors could give meaning to his forecast, including not just the launch of the new Volvo S60, but the start of production at the Chinese-owned automaker’s first U.S. assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Then there’s Care by Volvo, the subscription program the carmaker launched late last year.

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Tesla Cars Will Add Auto-Park Feature, Musk Tweets

Vehicles will be able to go hunting for a spot without a driver.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.01, 2018

All Tesla Model 3 sedans and newer Models S and X will be able to download the software.

Tired of circling around a parking lot looking for an open spot, perhaps missing a meeting while you wait? Or perhaps you want to don’t want to have to traipse back in snow or rain?

Tesla plans to solve those problems with a series of update that CEO Elon Musk said will start rolling out within six weeks for owners of recently built versions of its products. Upgrading the existing version of Tesla’s “Summon” auto-park feature, it will let a driver get out of their vehicle and then send it off to find a valid parking spot all on its own.

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Noting it will simply require an over-the-air software upgrade,” Musk tweeted on Halloween eve that the new feature “will work on all cars made in past 2 years.”

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Green Car of the Year Finalists Revealed

“Green” comes in many forms.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.30, 2018

The 2019 Insight is Honda's third attempt to market a mainstream, entry-level hybrid: an a possible winner of Green Car of the Year.

Not all that long ago, motorists looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle were likely in for a long search, with only a handful of models on the market. These days, it’s becoming a lot easier, as more and more new alternatives come to market, seemingly almost every week.

And that’s convinced the organizers of the annual Green Car of the Year Awards to expand their program this year. “Green comes in many forms,” they explain, noting that this year will bring new awards for the Luxury Green Car of the Year and the Green SUV of the Year.

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The three awards will be handed out at the Los Angeles International Auto Show just a month from now, and could see the jury highlight the wide range of “green” technologies now available to American motorists. (more…)

Consumer Reports: Domestic Vehicle Reliability Slipping

Domestic brands struggled in this year's survey.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.25, 2018

Toyota and its luxury sibling topped this year's Consumer Reports reliability survey of 29 brands.

Toyota and Lexus came out on top in Consumer Reports annual reliability survey thanks in large part to a cautious approach to adapting to new technology.

However, the Toyota Tundra, the automaker’s entry into the full-size truck segment, slipped off Consumer Reports list of recommended vehicles, Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing, disclosed during a meeting of Detroit’s Automotive Press Association.

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Fisher said overall it was a difficult year for domestic brands as Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Chrysler were among the brands that dropped in the Consumer Report’s new car reliability survey. Honda, which performed well in earlier years, also has slipped, he said.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Volvo V60

New midsize wagon offers luxury and comfort with Volvo safety.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.16, 2018

The new Volvo V60 offers stereotypical Volvo safety with plenty of performance and luxury.

Selling station wagons to American motorists has been an uphill battle, maybe even tougher than selling ice in Alaska given the pace of climate change.

But Volvo, which throughout the years has made its share of iconic station wagons, is launching a new one, the V60, into the teeth of the onslaught of utility vehicles that has nearly wiped out the entire segment.

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The second-generation Volvo V60 is an impressive vehicle that demands attention even in face of the tsunami of new SUVs that boosted motorists of all backgrounds into the command seating positions. The V60 is handsome, nicely balanced and very well-equipped with some of the latest technology and safety features, such as a new system that can mitigate the force of a head-on collision.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Volvo S60

Stylish, sporty and, of course, loaded with the latest safety features.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.15, 2018

The 2019 Volvo S60 R-Design features a 400-hp plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we began to wonder if the Swedish auto industry was headed for Valhalla. After all, the long-troubled Saab brand collapsed during the global economic downturn at the beginning of the decade, despite several rescue attempts.

And, after struggling to turn things around at Volvo, Ford decided to sell that brand off to the Chinese. What seemed like a questionable move turned into salvation as Volvo’s new owner, Zhejiang Geely, decided to pump billions of dollars into the development of an all-new product design and a radical shift in direction on the powertrain front.

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With Geely’s support, in fact, few brands have done more to transform their image than Volvo. Long known for safe but boring wagons and sedans, the Swedish automaker now offers one of the freshest and sexiest line-ups in the near and mid-luxury market, and the all-new 2019 Volvo S60 is the latest, welcome addition to the model mix. (more…)