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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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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.

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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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