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Volvo Unveils Autonomous Concept 26 at LA Auto Show

Concept vehicle meant to show "how luxury autonomous cars will integrate into daily life.”

by on Nov.18, 2015

Inside the Volvo Concept 26, the driver's seat laid back to snooze or watch TV.

Like it or not, autonomous vehicles appear to be right around the corner. And they’re likely to have a significant impact on the way we live our lives on the road.

But beyond having the ability to take our hands off the wheel, what exactly does that mean? That’s something Volvo aims to demonstrate with the debut of the Concept 26. The self-driving show car, the maker explains, offers a hint of “how luxury autonomous cars will integrate into daily life.”

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“Volvo Concept 26 addresses the notion that driving can still be fun and liberating on the right day and on the right road,” says Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, the general manager of Volvo’s Concept Center, where the prototype was developed.

But on the wrong day or the wrong road, autonomous vehicles can ease the strain of the daily commute which, “in many metro areas,” he adds, “is stressful, frustrating and even broken.”


Buick Moving Ahead with Plans to Bring Chinese Car to US

Compact crossover could go on sale by late 2016.

by on Nov.13, 2015

The Buick Envision is already on sale in China.

General Motors’ Buick division is moving forward on plans to bring a Chinese-made vehicle to the U.S. market.

A version of the Buick Envision already on sale in China, the compact crossover is expected to go on sale here by late 2016, according to a Wall Street Journal report. That would make GM only the second manufacturer to import a vehicle from China.

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The booming Asian market – which is just rebounding from an unusual slump – is the largest outlet in the world for Buick, and GM now sells more vehicles in China than in the U.S. But as the market slows from years of high double-digit growth, the Detroit maker is looking to find other opportunities for the production capacity it has set up in Shanghai and other cities.


Volvo Adding Plug-ins Across Entire Range

And an all-electric model to come by 2019.

by on Oct.15, 2015

The Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine charging.

Volvo is clearly getting charged up over battery power. The Swedish maker, which only recently added its first plug-in hybrid model, plans to add PHEV versions of its entire line-up, and will also introduce its first pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, by 2019.

Unlike some competitors, Volvo put an emphasis on performance with its first plug-in, the so-called “Twin Engine” drivetrain introduced on the 2016 Volvo XC90. It is expected to follow a similar strategy with future plug-based models.

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“We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars, said in a statement.


China’s Economic Crisis Working to Volvo’s Advantage

Swedish maker gets more control from Chinese parent.

by on Aug.24, 2015

A Volvo S60L sedan rolling down the assembly line at the maker's plant in Chengdu, China.

The financial turmoil in China is actually working to the advantage of Volvo Cars. The Swedish automaker, now owned by China’s Geely, is getting more control of key assets, such as its factory in Chengdu, as part of a deal valued at $356 million.

Volvo Cars executives said the decision to take control of its three joint venture operations in China will accurately reflect its growing presence in the Chinese  market . It also fixes the values of the assets in case of a merger or if they are put up as collateral for a major loan in the future, observers said.

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The downside is that Volvo is being hammered, like the rest of the auto industry, by the worst slowdown in the Chinese automotive market in two decades. The downturn could push Volvo to expand plans to export cars from China to the U.S. and other established markets.


British Road Project Could Eliminate Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety

Pilot project is building chargers into the road itself.

by on Aug.20, 2015

Eventually, British roads might add special lanes just for electric vehicles to recharge.

Imagine being able to drive as long as you’d like, the length of your trip limited only by the capacity of your bladder, not by the size of your fuel tank – or your battery.

A pilot project about to get underway in England could make it easy. The government-owned Highways England is launching an 18-month trial that eventually may help eliminate so-called “range anxiety,” making it possible for electric vehicles to charge while they drive, drawing power from the road itself.

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It’s one of a variety of creative concepts that highway planners are studying. A Dutch company wants to replace conventional asphalt with interlocking, Lego-like blocks created from recycled soft drink bottles. A U.S. entrepreneur, meanwhile, wants to replace conventional pavement with blocks of glass, turning the road itself into a giant solar panel, generating power that perhaps could be used for recharging electric vehicles.


Volvo Bets Big on Performance with Polestar Acquisition

Move creates rival to BMW M and Mercedes-AMG.

by on Jul.14, 2015

A line-up of Volvo Polestar models.

It may have a reputation for focusing on safety but Volvo has been putting an increasing emphasis on performance, as well, something further signaled by its move to acquire Polestar, a Swedish tuner that has, in recent years, turned out high-power versions of several Volvo models.

The move will create a sub-brand similar to Daimler’s Mercedes-AMG and BMW’s M, a statement from Volvo noting Polestar will be used as a model name for future high-performance models. These apparently will include versions of the so-called “Twin Engine” plug-hybrid technology first introduced on the new Volvo XC90.

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“Driving a Volvo Polestar is a special experience. We have decided to bring this experience to more Volvo drivers, placing the full resources of Volvo behind the development of Polestar as the model name for our high performance cars,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.


Volvo Offering Lifetime Warranty on Repairs

Program covers both parts and labor on post-warranty service.

by on Jul.10, 2015

Once your new Volvo comes off warranty you'd only have to pay for a covered repair once, even if the part breaks again.

Tired of fixing your old car and then having to pay for the same repair a year or two later? Volvo has an answer for you.

The Swedish maker has introduced a new lifetime warranty on repair parts and labor it’s calling the “Pay Once and Never Pay Again” program. The program appears to be aimed at both building the brand’s image and helping drive more repair work into dealer service bays.

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“The lifetime parts and labor warranty is a commitment to both quality vehicles and quality customer relationships,” says Lex Kerssemakers, the recently appointed President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, “everyone should feel confident that Volvo is here to support our customers throughout the ownership of their vehicle.”


Volvo Relying on New Technology to Draw Young Buyers

Updated on-call app ties into tech wearables.

by on Jun.01, 2015

Volvo is counting on its On Call service to draw tech-savvy buyers to the brand.

In an effort to impress tech-savvy young consumers, carmakers are using trendy apps to help chase away the auto industry’s lingering image as a low tech industry peddling archaic products.

Volvo Cars, which is the midst of a major push into the U.S. market with the launch of the 2016 XC90, plans to release an updated version of its Volvo On Call smart app that will connect with wearables, such as the Apple Watch and Android Wear.

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This new app will allow Volvo drivers with the Volvo On Call app to control settings, lock/unlock, locate and utilize many other Volvo services from their wrist. (more…)

Volvo Building $500M Plant in South Carolina

Factory will produce 100,000 vehicles annually.

by on May.11, 2015

A Volvo XC90 rolls down the assembly line at the maker's plant in Daqing, China. The maker will build vehicles in South Carolina starting in 2018.

Almost six weeks after saying it planned to establish a beachhead in the U.S., Volvo announced it’s building a $500 million plant just north of Charleston, South Carolina.

The automaker was said to be considering three locations, but the site north of Charleston won out because of its proximity to a large port and other infrastructure.

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The factory, which will be located in Berkeley County and is expected to be up and running by 2018, will produce 100,000 vehicles that will be sold in the U.S. and exported, according to the automaker. Construction will begin later this year. (more…)

Volvo Introduces XC90 Lounge Console Concept

Passengers can kick back and relax on the road.

by on Apr.21, 2015

Volvo's XC90 Excellence Lounge Concept removes the front passenger seat creating a spacious environment.

American automakers are stretching some of their full-size products to cater to Chinese buyers who often hire chauffeurs to ferry them around while they sit in the back seat. Volvo’s latest concept shows how to do that with a smaller vehicle.

The new Lounge Console concept is an XC90 Excellence – the most opulent version of the SUV – that hit the stage at the Shanghai Motor Show showing how regular sized vehicles can accommodate the busy executive on the go.

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The Excellence is an XC90 that eliminates the third row of seats in favor of allowing the second row to have to fully reclining seats. The Lounge Console also replaces the front passenger seat, providing a wealth of functions and amenities. (more…)