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Scoring With First Plug-in, Volvo Looking at More Battery-Car Options

Early demand for XC90 PHEV hits 20%, double initial plan.

by on Jun.09, 2016

The Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine is selling at a higher rate than expected by company executives: 20%..

Despite generally sluggish demand for battery-electric vehicles, Volvo Cars has a surprise hit on its hands with its first plug-in hybrid model, according to the Swedish automaker’s global R&D chief.

About 20% of the buyers of its new XC90 are opting for the so-called Twin Engine version of the sport-utility vehicle, more than double the company’s original expectations. The plug-in powertrain will next be offered in the S90 sedan and V90 wagons that share platforms with the SUV. And the strong response is encouraging Volvo to look at still more electrification options, said research chief Peter Mertens, during an interview.

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Among other things, Volvo is readying its first full battery-electric model for 2019, with others soon to follow. And Mertens revealed the carmaker, now owned by China’s Geely, is looking closely at new lithium-ion battery technology that could allow a motorist to get a full charge in about the same time it takes to fill up a gas tank. (more…)

Volvo Unveils New XC40 and S40 Concepts

Underlying CMA platform will be shared with Chinese parent Geely.

by on May.19, 2016

This concept will reappear next year as the completely redesigned Volvo XC40.

Volvo is in the midst of a complete brand makeover, and the automaker is giving us a hint of its next move in an aggressive, top-to-bottom product rollout with the unveiling of the new S40 and XC40 concepts.

Both models will mark a significant step forward, but not only for the Swedish automaker. In production, the next-gen Volvo XC40 and Volvo S40 models will ride on the maker’s all-new Compact Modular Architecture which is designed to be shared with Chinese parent Geely. It is, in fact, a key to Geely’s long-term goal to transform itself into a truly global automaker.

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“CMA has helped us to capture something special, something youthful in our new concept cars. They have an energy, a disruptive and engaging urban character that makes them stand out,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo’s senior vice president of design.

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Volvo Looks to Secure $575 Million in Financing

Swedish-Chinese maker aims to continue “transformation.”

by on May.09, 2016

Volvo CEO Lex Kerssemakers said the automaker is looking to continue its growth that it has enjoyed in 2016.

Volvo Cars plans to use its recent success to secure additional financing.

The premium carmaker announced it is seeking to raise $575 million through a bond issue. It is Volvo’s first foray into the global corporate bond markets in its 89-year history. The Swedish-Chinese company is slated to begin a road show for potential investors this week.

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The proceeds from the bond issue will be for general corporate purposes and are aimed at increasing the company’s financial flexibility and diversifying its funding sources, the company said in a statement. (more…)

Google, Volvo Expand Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Swedish maker looks to China, while tech giant goes to Arizona.

by on Apr.07, 2016

Google is expanding its testing areas to Phoenix, Arizona, and its suburbs.

As the proponents of autonomous vehicles in Washington D.C. gird themselves for an onslaught of dissension at public hearings later this week, the automakers developing the vehicles continue about the work of improving them.

Google’s just been cleared to run a fleet of self-driving cars in Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding suburbs while Volvo is preparing a gaggle of as many as 100 vehicles to test in China.

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The tech giant has been expanding its test environments in recent months, including adding Austin, Texas, and Kirkland, Washington, to its home base of Mountain View, California. Google is already mapping the Phoenix area in anticipation of the self-driving testing. (more…)

Volvo’s New V90 Wagon Strikes a Chord

Swedish-Chinese maker looking for another home run with wagon.

by on Mar.01, 2016

Volvo wagon fans will feel their hearts go pitter-pat with the introduction of the new V90 wagon.

Volvo’s drawn plenty of accolades in recent months, including the North American Truck/SUV of the Year for the XC90, but nothing touches the hearts of Volvo purists like the company’s station wagons.

The love affair begins anew with the company’s just-debuted V90 wagon unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, and joining the company’s top-of-the-line 90 series vehicles: the aforementioned XC90 and the recently released S90 sedan.

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“We have a very strong position in the estate segment,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “In many people’s minds we are known as the definitive estate brand. While the Volvo brand today stands for more than estates, we are proud to carry forward this rich heritage with the V90.” (more…)

Volvo Ready to Say Goodbye to the Car Key

And it’s not alone. Keys could go the way of the running board.

by on Feb.19, 2016

When the new Volvo S90 debuts, it'll be completely keyless and perhaps the start of a trend.

When the new Volvo S90 comes out next year, you may notice something missing: the car key.

Starting in 2017, the Swedish maker plans to eliminate physical keys, replacing them with a smartphone app. And Volvo isn’t likely to be alone for long. While traditional, metal keys have largely been supplanted by wireless keyfobs, even those could vanish in the near future, replaced by more functional apps – though those do pose some potential problems.

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“Mobility needs are evolving and so are our customers’ expectation to access cars in an uncomplicated way,” said Henrik Green, vice president of Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars. (more…)

Volvo Targeting 800,000 in Global Sales by 2020

Kerssemakers says new small cars are next growth area.

by on Feb.12, 2016

Volvo CEO Lex Kerssemakers outlined the maker's plans to develop a family of small cars it will share with Geely Motors.

Volvo is pushing ahead with the development of a new family of small cars that it will share with its Chinese parent, Geely Motors.

The work on new architecture will is being completed at Volvo’s Technical Center in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lex Kerssemakers, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars USA, said after a luncheon speech to the Economic Club of Chicago.

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“We had the expertise in Gothenburg, but the modular architecture, which will support several different models in the future, will be shared with other Geely’s growing automotive empire,” said Kerssemakers, who headed up Volvo’s product planning staff at one point during his long career with Volvo. (more…)

Volvo Hopes to Build on Big Win by its New XC90

Safety only part of its message going forward.

by on Jan.12, 2016

Volvo new S90 flagship is part of the maker's plans to build a portfolio of vehicles using four-cylinder engines.

There’ve been plenty of folks ready to write off Volvo since it was sold off by Ford Motor Co. to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group for $1.8 billion six years ago.

But you’d be hard-pressed to find evidence of the Swedish brand’s imminent demise at this year’s North American Auto Show. Quite the contrary, Volvo launching the annual event by nabbing the sought-after honor of North American Truck/Utility of the Year for its new XC90 sport-utility vehicle.

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“There couldn’t be a better way to pave the way for the new S90,” Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo’s top U.S. executive said later in the day, as the carmaker revealed the next major product in its rapidly expanding portfolio, a new flagship sedan. (more…)

Volvo Making Semi-Autonomous System Standard on New S90

Pilot Assist system to become industry-first.

by on Jan.07, 2016

Volvo is offering semi-autonomous technology for the first time on its new S90 flagship sedan this year.

Volvo is poised to set an industry first. The Swedish maker plans to make its Driver Assist system standard when it launches the all-new Volvo S90 sedan later this year.

Self-driving technology has become one of the hottest topics in the auto industry, a variety of manufacturers outlining plans to eventually offer hands-free systems during this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A number of makers expect to begin rolling out semi-autonomous systems between now and the end of the decade, but Volvo is likely to become the first to make such technology standard on one model.

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“We think it’s a great feature and see that (consumer) interest in this technology is increasing quite rapidly,” said Erik Coelingh, senior technical leader for Volvo’s active safety operations. (more…)

Volvo Lifts the Covers off New Flagship S90

New flagship sedan should help Volvo gain traction in premium market.

by on Dec.02, 2015

The new Volvo S90 shares the same underlying platform as the XC90 SUV.

Ask anyone in the theater and they’ll tell you the critical importance of a good second act. Volvo apparently has taken that advice to heart and is following up the recent launch of the critically well-received XC90 SUV with the unveiling of its new flagship sedan, the S90.

Sharing the same underpinnings as the big SUV, the Volvo S90 will take aim at some of the toughest competition in the auto industry, models like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and newly redesigned BMW 7-Series. And while it’s not likely to generate massive sales, it will serve as a critical halo car for the Swedish brand.

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As with the XC90, Volvo isn’t going the me-too route. Among other things, the new S90 will pick up on the company’s new powertrain strategy – which means all four-cylinder drivetrains, the performance version of the new sedan opting for the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid system.

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