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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…)

Volvo Plans to Build $500 Million Plant in US

Chinese maker eschews Mexico for America.

by on Mar.30, 2015

A Volvo XC90 rolls down the assembly line at the maker's plant in Daqing, China. A similar set up is coming to the U.S.

Volvo, the first Chinese automaker to export a vehicle to the U.S., announced it plans to build a $500 million somewhere in the U.S. Officials declined to elaborate on where.

“Volvo Cars cannot claim to be a true global carmaker without an industrial presence in the U.S. Today, we became that,” said Hakan Samuelsson, CEO and president, in a statement.

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“The U.S. is an absolutely crucial part of our global transformation and today’s announcement makes it perfectly clear that Volvo is in the U.S. to stay.” (more…)

Volvo Will Put 100 Autonomous Vehicles on Road by 2017

Project Drive Me will turn to the public to test the technology.

by on Feb.20, 2015

A variety of laser, radar, cameras and other sensors will give the pilot vehicles a 360-degree view.

Volvo plans to launch an autonomous vehicle pilot program by 2017, and it intends to use real motorists in its home town of Gothenberg, Sweden to get feedback on how well the technology works.

Dubbed Drive Me, the project is one of the more ambitious laid out by a conventional carmaker – though tech giant Google is already starting to roll out the first of 100 self-driving vehicles it plans to use as part of a test program near its Silicon Valley headquarters. Most major manufacturers are now working on autonomous technologies, with some predicting the first such vehicles could go on sale early in the next decade.

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“We are entering uncharted territory in the field of autonomous driving,” said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development for the Volvo Car Group. “Taking the exciting step to a public pilot, with the ambition to enable ordinary people to sit behind the wheel in normal traffic on public roads, has never been done before.”

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Volvo Names Kerssemakers to Top Spot in Americas

Long-time company veteran charged with invigorating U.S. sales.

by on Jan.23, 2015

Volvo appointed Lex Kerssemakers to head up North American operations.

Just a week after it debuted its first China-built vehicle to be sold in the U.S., the S60, Volvo put Lex Kerssemakers in charge of the automaker’s North and South American operations with a specific task: get U.S. sales back up.

Kerssemakers is now as Senior Vice President Americas and his appointment is, according to the automaker, a symbol of “the company’s commitment to the core American market.” The newly appointed chief was previously Senior Vice President of Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management. He’s been with the automaker for 16 years.

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In his new role, Kerssemakers reports to Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars’ president and chief executive. He will also assume the role of President and chief executive of Volvo Cars of North America. (more…)

Volvo To Introduce First Chinese-Made Car to U.S. Market

Volvo S60 Inscription is stretch version of midsize sedan.

by on Jan.12, 2015

A Chinese ad for the stretched Volvo S60 - which will soon go on sale in the U.S. as the S60 Inscription.

Volvo is stretching out – in more ways than one – by launching a long-wheelbase version of its S60 sedan. It also happens to be the first car scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. market produced in China.

Making its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, the S60 Inscription adds another 3.4 inches of rear legroom to the current S60 model, taking it from cramped to what Volvo claims is best-in-class space.

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Set to reach U.S. showrooms this coming summer, the long-wheelbase model has been in production for more than a year at the Volvo plant in Chengdu, not far from the headquarters of its Chinese parent, Geely. It’s the first plant Volvo has operated outside Europe. (more…)

Volvo Concept Cycle Helmet Could Prevent Crashes

System could avert potential collisions, even when rider is out of sight.

by on Jan.05, 2015

Volvo is partnering with POC and Ericsson for a new bicycle crash prevention system.

Helmets are designed to help cyclists survive a crash – but what if they could prevent an accident in the first place?

That’s the idea behind a “wearable cycling tech concept” Volvo Cars is introducing at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Developed in cooperation with protective sports gear maker POC and electronics giant Ericsson, the system would establish a two-way link between bicycle riders and vehicles, alerting both when there’s a chance of a collision.

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While it’s unclear whether the system will go into production, it addresses an increasingly serious problem. Nearly 50,000 U.S. bike riders are killed or injured each year, a recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association revealing that the annual death rate shot up 16% between 2010 and 2012 as more riders took to the roads, particularly on crowded urban streets. (more…)

Volvo Selling Cars to Public Via the Internet

Maker undertaking radical marketing and sales strategy.

by on Dec.16, 2014

The new XC90 was sold on the Internet by Volvo: successfully. The company plans to roll the plan out across its line-up.

For more than a decade, automakers have attempted to sell new cars and trucks on the Internet, but with little success. However, Volvo seems willing to take crack at it.

The Swedish automaker, now owned by China’s Geely, went through a trial run with its new XC90 earlier this year, selling out the entire run of the crossover. It’s using the Internet again for its “Designer’s Choice” XC90, which consists of four models with different equipment and colors determined by the maker’s design team.

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The company now plans to expand its use of the Internet across its entire line-up. The process allows a buyer to order a Volvo online and submit a down payment using a credit card. Volvo forwards the information to a local dealer who then contacts the buyer. A buyer can get a refund if the buyer and the dealer can’t agree on price, delivery date or other particulars. (more…)

Volvo Reveals “Twin Engine” XC90 T8

Plug-in SUV balances performance, fuel efficiency.

by on Dec.08, 2014

The Volvo XC90's plug-in drive will allow it to launch from 0 to 62 in 5.9 seconds - and yield 25 miles on battery power alone.

Volvo is out to prove that an SUV can be environmentally friendly – and still be a lot of fun to drive.

The maker is offering a first look at the new XC90 T8, a plug-in version of its next-generation SUV that it expects to deliver high fuel economy, low emissions and near sports car-like performance, with 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62 mph) launch times of just 5.9 seconds.

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“The XC90 T8 is a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one,” explains R&D chief Peter Mertens. “The Drive-E engines already offer highly competitive performance versus the competition. The T8 takes it further into a leading position.”

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Recalls Aside, Automobiles Becoming Safer than Ever

An era of zero fatalities may be within reach.

by on Dec.03, 2014

Volvo's new AstaZero safety proving grounds. The maker wants to see zero deaths in its vehicles.

With a record 54 million vehicles facing recall — and nearly another month to go before the books are closed on 2014 — it’s no surprise American automakers and auto buyers alike have been focused on safety this year.

But despite all the lapses that have seen dozens of deaths from faulty airbags and flawed ignition switches, there’s another side to the story: cars are safer than ever. U.S. highway fatalities are now about 40 percent down from their 1970s peak, even though there are more cars on the road logging more mileage.

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“I don’t think we’ve ever seen vehicle safety reach this level before,” contends Raj Nair, global product development director for Ford Motor Co.

The latest vehicles are not only better-equipped to survive crashes but also to avoid them altogether. That’s led several automakers, including both Nissan and Volvo, to declare that they hope to see no deaths occur in the new vehicles they bring to market by the beginning of the next decade.

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