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Volvo V60 Cross Country Aiming for Its Own Unique Niche

New Cross Country model strikes a balance between wagon and CUV.

by on Nov.21, 2014

The Volvo V60 Cross Country is officially a wagon, but with its taller, almost coupe-like proportions, it could have been re-designated a crossover.

Few manufacturers have had their image more closely tied to the station wagon, even though Volvo went awhile without offering one in the U.S. market – and probably for good reason considering the limited demand for that seemingly out-of-date body style.

Significantly, when the Swedish maker’s turn in the spotlight came at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, it put the focus on the new XC90 sport-utility vehicle it will launch next year. But there was another model sharing the stage, and it harkens more closely to Volvo’s roots.

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The Volvo V60 Cross Country is officially being called a wagon, but with its taller, almost coupe-like proportions, it could just as easily have been re-designated a crossover. It certainly has a silhouette similar to other European CUVs, such as the BMW X1. (more…)

Volvo Will Build Top-Range S90 Sedan in China

Swedish automaker turning to China as export manufacturing base.

by on Nov.14, 2014

A current Volvo XC90 rolls down the assembly line at the maker's plant in Daqing, China.

The millennium had barely turned before the first Chinese automaker showed up at the Detroit Auto Show promising to begin exports to the U.S. “in a couple years.” A decade later, however, and American motorists are still waiting.

Ironically, it could take a Swedish automaker to finally make that vision come true. Well, make that a Swedish carmaker with a Chinese parent.

The Last Word!

Volvo has already indicated it may import a small number of stretched S60 sedans from its Guangzhou plant to the U.S. Now, however, the maker has confirmed that its planned flagship sedan will be produced at another facility in Daqing for export around the world.

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Luxury Makers Stretch Out with Long-Wheelbase Models

Infiniti offers extended version of Q70 sedan.

by on Sep.03, 2014

For another $1,500, the Infiniti Q70L will offer backseat passengers nearly 6 inches more legroom.

In today’s hotly competitive luxury car market, manufacturers like Infiniti have learned they sometimes need to stretch a little to satisfy potential customers.

The high-line arm of Nissan Motor Co. is adding a long-wheelbase version of its Q70 sedan for the 2015 model-year, joining a growing list of makers that have introduced stretched versions of such models as the Jaguar XJ and Audi 8L.

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The idea might seem particularly well-suited for the U.S. market, where the mantra has long been “bigger is better.” Ironically, the trend is being driven these days by China, where BMW has even introduced a long-wheelbase version of its compact 3-Series line.

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Volvo Set for Downsized Powertrain Revolution

Swedish maker switches to 4-cylinders; will add 3-cylinder and a pair of Plug-ins.

by on Aug.27, 2014

Volvo has high hopes for the 400-horsepower T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain it will offer on the XC90.

The all-new XC90 SUV that made its debut this week marks the beginning of a major shift in powertrain strategy by Volvo Cars, the Swedish automaker abandoning V-6 and V-8 power in favor of more advanced 4-cylinder gas, diesel and hybrid technology.

But Volvo is set to reach even further, company officials reveal, in its bid to balance performance and fuel economy. It also is developing a new line of 3-cylinder engines, and will soon add not just one but two different plug-in hybrid powertrains to its line-up.

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“A few years ago, I would have said this was a risky strategy,” admitted Lex Kerssemakers, the maker’s global product strategy chief, but he added he is “confident” about the approach as buyers around the world migrate to smaller, more fuel-efficient engines even in big SUVs and crossovers like the 2016 Volvo XC90.

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Volvo Likely to Begin Importing from China in 2015

Maker will focus on stretched version of new S60 model.

by on Aug.26, 2014

The Volvo S60L sedan, which is assembled at the new Volvo plant in Chengdu, could be the first vehicle exported from China to the U.S.

Despite years of promises, Chinese automakers like Chery Automotive and BYD have yet to follow through by importing their products to the United States. But the long drought is expected to come to an end next year, and the first automaker to ship a Chinese-made vehicle to the U.S. now appears likely to be Volvo Cars.

Purchased by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holdings in 2010, Volvo is now operating two factories in the fast-growing Asian country, with most of the capacity earmarked for local buyers. But the Swedish brand’s chief executive officer says it is preparing to export at least one of those products next year.

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“A very likely candidate” is the long-wheelbase version of Volvo’s S60 sedan, the maker’s CEO and President Hakan Samuelsson said in response to a question from TheDetroitBureau.com, adding that a target date “sometime in 2015” is “absolutely likely.” (more…)

Volvo Unveils New XC90; Bets its Future on Redesign

Volvo to offer plug-in hybrid, new safety and connectivity features.

by on Aug.26, 2014

The new Volvo XC90 shown with the Swedish maker's President & CEO Hakan Samuelsson.

With today’s unveiling of an all-new XC90, Volvo Cars is giving the world a good look at the many changes that will likely determine the future success of the Swedish automaker.

While echoing the basic shape of the old Volvo XC90, the new ute adopts new, and more luxurious proportions, as well as a more sophisticated interior. But many of the most significant changes aren’t as readily apparent. They include an all-new platform, or architecture, that will serve as the foundation of many future Volvo products.

How Swede It Is!

The new ute, due to market next April, also gets a sophisticated, tablet-style touchscreen display to control everything from its infotainment system to its climate control. The 2016 Volvo XC90 also will see the maker introduce a wide arrange of new Drive-E powertrains, including Volvo’s new plug-in hybrid system designed to deliver both performance and fuel economy, depending on what mode it’s operating in.

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Death-Free Highways Have Become a Real Possibility

New study will show it is already starting to happen.

by on Aug.22, 2014

Volvo's near AstaZero safety proving grounds.

With the opening of its new proving grounds in western Sweden, the Volvo Car Group says it is moving “a step closer” to its goal of having no one killed or seriously injured in one of its cars by 2020.

Not long ago, such claims might have seemed the stuff of fantasy, or worse, cynical over-promise. While there’s no question that, in the U.S., highway fatalities have fallen nearly 40% from their peak, more than 30,000 Americans are still being killed each year. Nonetheless, we may very well be approaching an era when the highway death toll sinks to zero, industry experts believe.

The Last Word!

A sign of that possibility will come with the release of a new study next month by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which will show a record number of vehicles experienced no deaths during the four-year study period from 2009 through the end of 2012.

“It’s a tall order,” says IIHS Senior Vice President Russ Rader, “But the goal is definitely feasible. We’re already seeing this happen.”

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Volvo Claims Next XC90 Will Be “World’s Most Powerful and Cleanest SUV”

Line-up will include 400-hp plug-in and 56 mpg turbodiesel.

by on Jul.08, 2014

The new Volvo XC90 T8 will be powered by a new plug-in hybrid I-4 turning out 400-hp.

With plans to completely redefine its line-up, top to bottom, Volvo is offering up new details on the three powertrain packages it will be offering in the next-generation XC90, the Swedish maker boasting that they will make it “the world’s most powerful and cleanest SUV.”

While that claim will be open to challenge, the new XC90 will, at one extreme, offer a dual supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making a solid 400 horsepower, while at the other extreme it promises a combined fuel economy of 56 mpg from a new turbodiesel.

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“There are no compromises when you drive an all-new XC90,” said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “In the past you could either have power or low CO2 emissions. But with the all-new XC90 you can have both.”

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Volvo May Begin Importing Cars from China in 2015

S60L would target the U.S., while XC90 would be shipped to Russia.

by on Jun.17, 2014

Volvo recently unveiled a plug-in hybrid verson of the S60L at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show.

Volvo may soon become the first major automaker to start selling Chinese-made cars in the United States.

Now owned by Chinese domestic automaker Geely, Volvo is determined to reverse several years of slumping sales, even as it ramps up production at a new factory in Geely’s home town of Chengdu. The Swedish brand is in the midst of rolling out an assortment of new products and, according to a Reuters report, could begin shipping a long-wheelbase version of its S60 sedan to the U.S. by late 2015.

Beyond the Headlines!

Senior Geely and Volvo officials had hinted of their interest in exporting to the U.S. during a visit by TheDetroitBureau.com to the new Volvo Chengdu plant in 2013, but at the time they had not set a hard date on such plans.

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Solar Roadway Project Sets Fundraising Record

Idaho entrepreneurs get strong backing for solar pavement concept.

by on May.30, 2014

Julie and Scott Brusaw lay down the solar pavers for the prototype driveway they've built.

Step onto the pavement on a hot day and you might get a sense of the energy that Scott and Julie Brusaw hope to tap into.

The Idaho couple hope to pave the country’s roadways with solar cells, rather than asphalt or concrete. It’s an admittedly edgy idea that the Idaho entrepreneurs nonetheless believe could replace much of the need for traditional sources of generating electricity in the U.S., including coal-fired power plants. And, apparently, a lot of folks like their idea, helping the Brusaws raise a record $1.5 million in preliminary funding through the Indiegogo.com crowdsourcing site.

Power Up!

But they aren’t the only ones who believe roadways could also become energy sources. Volvo is working with the Swedish Transport Association to turn a stretch of roadway in the City of Gothenburg into a rolling battery charger that will be used by specially equipped electric buses. The concept might someday help eliminate the so-called range anxiety electric vehicle owners suffer due to the limited storage capacity of today’s batteries. (more…)