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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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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…)

Volvo Scrambles as Trump Tariffs Shatter Export Plans for New U.S. Plant

China market closed, “I need to find a substitute," says US CEO.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.10, 2018

Volvo's new plant near Charleston, S.C., is churning out new S60s. It will add the XC90 in 2021.

Volvo’s plans for its first-ever American assembly plant have been thrown into turmoil as a result of Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war with China, something that will result in fewer auto exports from the South Carolina factory, potentially impacting hiring plans, the automaker’s U.S. CEO told TheDetroitBureau.com.

Volvo initially planned to use the Charleston facility as its global source for the all-new S60 sedan, while also producing some of its popular XC90 crossovers. Fully half of the assembly plant’s production was earmarked for China and other overseas markets, noted Anders Gustafson. But the administration’s escalating trade war has resulted in China boosting tariffs on American-made vehicles and parts from 25% to 40%, even as it reduces duties on auto imports from other trade partners to 15%.

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“Now, we cannot export to China” because the S60 would be priced out of the market, Gustafson, the president and CEO of Volvo Car USA, said during an interview near Los Angeles, where the company was offering journalists a first drive of the S60. “In this segment, you can’t raise prices because of competitiveness.” (more…)

Polestar Moving Ahead With Development of New EV

Company testing verification prototypes in Sweden.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.05, 2018

The all-new Polestar 1 performance PHEV is taking another step toward production with verification prototypes being tested in Sweden.

The development of the battery electric vehicles from Polestar, Volvo’s emerging battery electric vehicle brand, has taken another step forward.

The development of the Polestar 1 has moved off the computer and drawing board “with the production of the first series of “road-going” verification prototype, or VP, cars in Sweden.

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“The assembly of the VP cars means that the Polestar 1 has taken its next step towards production,” says Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive officer of Polestar.  (more…)

Why Fly? Self-Driving Volvo 360c Offers Alternative for Long-Distance Travel

Autonomous, electric, the concept will let travelers do “what they want to do.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.05, 2018

The Volvo 360c Concept is designed to let an owner travel in Business Jet-style comfort.

Flying is glamorous, or so the airlines would have you believe, but ask anyone who has had to deal with security lines, crowded cabins and inevitable delays and you’ll get an entirely different picture.

That’s where something like the Volvo 360c might offer a pleasant alternative. While the industry has focused on using driverless vehicles to replace conventional taxicabs, the self-driving concept from Volvo has long-distance travelers in mind. Billed as “the future of autonomous travel,” the 360c is designed to skip the lines and deliver the sort of experience you might expect flying on a private jet.

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“Domestic air travel sounds great when you buy your ticket, but it really isn’t,” said Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars, adding that “The 360c represents what could be a whole new take on the industry.”

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Volvo Moves XC60 Production to Europe from China to Avoid Trump Tariffs

Automaker reports record first-half sales, profits.

by Michael Strong on Jul.19, 2018

Volvo chief Hakan Samuelsson said the company is shifting production of XC60 SUVs allocated for the U.S. from China to Sweden to avoid tariffs.

The effects of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China are beginning to take shape — and it’s unlikely he’d hoped for this result.

Volvo Cars, which just opened a new plant in South Carolina, announced it would be shifting production of its XC60 SUV from China to … Europe. The move is to avoid the tougher tariffs currently in place on Chinese imports.

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Trump has been pushing foreign automakers to build more vehicles in the U.S., and Volvo’s new plant in Charleston will build the S60 sedan, later adding a SUV to the list, but that won’t be until 2021. (more…)

Electric Polestar 2 “Five-Door Coupe” Will Deliver 350 miles Range, 400+ HP

All-electric Polestar 3 SUV already in the works.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.17, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with Polestar's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo’s performance electric brand is getting ready to charge into the market with two additional models over the next two years, starting with the all-electric Polestar 2 which, a senior official claims, will deliver range of up to 350 miles per charge.

And, in keeping with the mandate of the brand – which traces its roots back to the track – the Polestar 2 “five-door coupe” will deliver around 405 horsepower, according to the brand’s Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Goodman. That figure might actually underplay the potential performance of the all-electric offering, as battery-electric vehicles can deliver incredible off-the-line performance because they punch out maximum torque the moment their motors start spinning.

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The Polestar 2 is expected to share the same underlying Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA, as the new Volvo 40-Series line-up. That was an obvious choice considering Volvo itself is planning to offer electrified versions of all future models and the CMA, its newest platform, was designed specifically to allow mounting a large battery pack under the load floor.

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Volvo Launches New Mobility Brand

Named M, the new brand offers a updated take on car-sharing.

by Michael Strong on Jul.06, 2018

Volvo Cars' mobility unit launched its own brand today: M. Featuring much of what you'd expect, like car-sharing services, as well as new options.

Volvo Cars has taken the lead on variety of changes within the automotive industry in the past decade or so, including autonomous driving, electric vehicle development and other mobility-oriented technologies and services.

The company is adding to that legacy with M, a new brand that will expand the company’s global mobility operations by providing dependable, on-demand access to cars and services through an intuitive app.

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“Volvo Cars is becoming more than just a car company. We recognize that urban consumers are rethinking traditional car ownership. M is part of our answer. We are evolving to become a direct-to-consumer services provider under our new mission ‘Freedom to Move’,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars president and chief executive. (more…)

First Look: 2019 Volvo S60

Sedan becomes second to offer Care by Volvo.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jun.21, 2018

The 2019 Volvo S60 is now manufactured in the United States in Charleston, South Carolina.

Volvo Cars showed off the new S60 sedan and a subscription service that will ease the hassle of having a car at the company’s first-ever U.S.-based assembly plant just outside Charleston, South Carolina.

The 2019 S60, the first Volvo to be made in the U.S., will be available in Momentum, R-Design and Inscription level trims that includes some of the latest technology developed by the Swedish carmaker.

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The new S60 is the first Volvo car to be sold without a diesel engine, signaling the company’s industry-leading commitment to electrification and a long-term future beyond the traditional combustion engine. In 2017, Volvo Cars was the first global car maker to announce its strategy that from 2019 all new models will have an electrified option. (more…)