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Volvo Concept Provides Glimpse at Maker’s Design Future

Concept XC Coupe aims to inspire an active outdoor life.

by on Jan.15, 2014

Volvo's Coupe XC concept is supposed to evoke a vision of an active outdoor life, said Senior Vice President Thomas Ingenlath.

Volvo is in the midst of debuting three concept vehicles at three different auto shows, and at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it showed the Volvo Concept XC Coupe, which is the second of three.

It’s the successor to the Volvo Concept C that we first saw at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn, which Volvo insiders confirmed as giving the world a good sense of the company’s future design direction.

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The the second of three concepts is supposed to show classic Scandinavian design, “timeless beauty,” according to Volvo Senior Vice President Thomas Ingenlath, as well as an “active outdoor life.” (more…)

Volvo Concept XC Coupe, Ford Mustang Win Auto Show Design Awards

Hailed as best by jury of global designers.

by on Jan.15, 2014

The 2015 Ford Mustang at its global debut.

The new Ford Mustang and the Volvo Concept XC Coupe took honors as the best designed production model and concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show.

They were among scores of new products unveiled during the annual Detroit event’s media preview that faced scrutiny by 30 current and retired chief automotive designers from around the world.

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While fuel economy, performance and digital safety and infotainment systems have become increasingly important to buyers, studies routinely show that design remains one of the most critical factors, especially when shoppers are first figuring out which models to put on their shopping list.  And, if anything, that has triggered what many observers are calling a new golden era of automotive styling.

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Photos of Volvo Concept XC Coupe Leak Out

Anticipated replacement for XC90.

by on Jan.08, 2014

The Volvo Concept XC Coupe is expected to return in production form as a 2-door version of the XC90.

Everything you may have known about Volvo is wrong – certainly if you’re stuck back in the old days when the Swedish maker produced a narrow line of boxy, boring stations wagons.  These days, the maker is rolling out some increasingly dynamic and curvaceous designs with only a single wagon in its line-up and, oh, yes, Volvo is now owned by the ambitious Chinese automaker Geely.

We’ll get a good sense of where Volvo is heading in the days ahead when it tolls out its new Concept XC Coupe at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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It’s the successor to the Volvo Concept C that we first saw at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn, which Volvo insiders confirmed as giving the world a good sense of the company’s future design direction.

Indeed, the Volvo Concept XC Coupe is expected to return in production form later this year as a coupe version of the next-generation XC90 crossover.

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Volvo Turns Batteries into Body Panels

New approach could solve problem of where to put battery packs.

by on Oct.18, 2013

A Volvo S80 prototype embeds its nano batteries and ultra-capacitors inside carbon fiber body panels.

Battery cars have a number of potential advantages – including the ability to move the motor out from under the hood, something that could translate into a lot more space for passengers. On the downside, manufacturers struggle to find the right place to put bulky batteries that can eat up cargo and passenger space and, if poorly positioned, throw a vehicle’s weight balance horribly awry.

Volvo Car Group, the Swedish-based, Chinese-owned automaker, may have come up with an interesting alternative.  The maker wants to build energy storage devices right into the body panels of vehicles like the prototype S80 shown here.

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The experimental car is the culmination of a 3.5-year research project in which, Volvo says, “The project team identified a feasible solution to the heavy weight, large size and high costs associated with the batteries seen in hybrids and electric cars today, whilst maintaining the efficient capacity of power and performance.”

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Chief Designer Says Concept Coupe Captures “Essence” of Volvo’s Past and Future

Bringing new, sensual shape to brand best known for boxy designs.

by on Sep.11, 2013

The Volvo Concept Coupe draws its inspiration from the maker's old P1800 model.

Automotive designers often look into the rearview mirror when searching for new idea.  The latest version of the Volkswagen Beetle is perhaps the best modern example. But don’t use the word “retro,” stylists typically preferring the term, “DNA” to describe the look they were going for.

Or, in the case of Volvo, “the essence” of what the Swedish automaker stands for, explains new design chief Thomas Ingenlath, as he explains the motivation behind the new Volvo Concept Coupe making its debut this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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For those who might associate Volvo with the bland and boxy designs of decades past, the Concept Coupe could come as a shock. Then again, those more familiar with Volvo over the ages will quickly see the clear influence of the maker’s old P1800 sports car, produced between 1961 and 1973. Ingenlath admits it serves as a strong influence – not only for the Frankfurt show car but for the production designs Volvo plans to bring to market over the next few years.

“It’s the essence of what we’re doing,” Ingenlath says during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com. “We’re taking the heritage of Volvo and remaking it as a convincing case for the future.”

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Volvo Teases New Concept C

Show car slated for Frankfurt reveal.

by on Aug.26, 2013

Volvo video gives a quick glimpse of new Concept C.

Volvo has been making plenty of promises for the future, the Swedish maker hinting at a variety of new products and a major transformation of its powertrain line-up to start rolling out over the next few years.

We’re likely to get a good look at what it has in mind during the Frankfurt Motor Show next month – and if a new teaser video released on Youtube.com is any indication, the Volvo Concept C will be anything but the plain “vanilla,” wagons that prior generations had grown used to.

What a Concept!

True, the now Chinese-owned maker has been steadily moving away from its boxy design roots in recent years, and the Volvo Concept You shown at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show offered a clear glimpse of where things are going. But if the snippets seen in this brief teaser are any indication, the Volvo design language is evolving rather rapidly.

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Volvo’s Chinese Fire Drill

New owner Geely hopes to ignite Volvo sales around the world.

by on Jun.21, 2013

Workers assembling a pilot S60L sedan at the new Volvo plant in Chengdu.

The assembly line creeps along at a glacial pace.  For the next few months, the workers at the sprawling plant on the outskirts of the Sichuanese capital of Chengdu will be carefully trained before the first cars actually roll into Chinese showrooms.

But eventually, if all goes according to plan, the factory will be running at a frantic rate.  Long little more than an after-thought in the global luxury market, Volvo Cars has ambitions to challenge more established brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

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At least, that’s the goal set by Geely which purchased the Swedish maker from Ford Motor Co. three years ago.  The ambitious Chinese conglomerate plans to invest at least $6 billion to rebuild Volvo, completely updating its product line-up and adding new plants to produce them, starting with the factory in Chengdu and another in China’s Northeast industrial belt.

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China Soon to Be World’s Top Luxury Car Market

Sales of premium models expected to double by 2020.

by on Jun.04, 2013

The new Cadillac XTS gets a splashy launch during China's annual auto show.

It would be tempting to say that James Wang is living the American dream – if it weren’t for the fact that he’s living in Beijing.

The mild-mannered 27-year-old is a self-made mega-millionaire, earning his money building golf courses for the country’s fast-growing leisure class. And like so many of his American counterparts, the young entrepreneur is addicted to automobiles, with a fleet of vehicles ranging from a Subaru WRX STi to a Porsche 911 and even a Maybach M62 in his garage.

While Wang may have a slightly larger personal fleet than most Chinese motorists he’s far from unusual in his taste for premium automobiles.  Luxury cars today fill the streets of many booming Chinese cities, notes Fu Qiang, president and CEO of Volvo Cars China, noting that “All the forecasts call for China to become the world’s largest premium market by 2016.”

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The country is already the largest national automotive market in the world, pushing past the U.S. several years ago. And Chinese industry groups have estimated overall annual demand could surge to 38 million in little more than a decade, exceeding sales in the U.S. and the European Union combined.

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Internet Abuzz About Volvo Teaser Campaign

Swedish maker may be pulling off a surprise.

by on May.17, 2013

Volvo's new teaser campaign leaves everyone guessing.

The Internet has been abuzz about the possible hidden meaning behind a trio of short video teasers from Volvo. With the tagline, “Leave the World Behind,” each features a member of the once-popular band, Swedish House Mafia, along with a mysterious vehicle that, the rumor mill is betting, could be the prototype of a new crossover.

Now owned by China’s Geely, Volvo promises to solve the mystery later today at a European news conference. But sources have spilled the herring, as it were, and TheDetroitBureau.com can clue you in on what to expect.  Actually, we’ll start by telling you what not to expect: a new car.

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While TheDetroitBureau.com’s sources wouldn’t reveal all the details, they hinted that what we’re witnessing is a reunion of the once popular group — though considering the fact that the three Swedish House Mafia band members appear in separate teaser videos, we’ll have to wait to see how they all come together.

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New Volvo System Spots Pedestrians, Cyclists, Make Emergency Stops

Maker working on next-gen model capable of spotting animals.

by on Mar.07, 2013

Volvo's system uses a combination of radar and vision sensors to spot obstacles.

Volvo is launching a new safety system capable of spotting not only pedestrians but even bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic.

The latest update of the maker’s well-regarded City Safety technology, the system is designed to sound an alert if it spots a potential collision. But it’s also capable of bringing the vehicle to an abrupt halt, if necessary, should the driver be distracted or not respond in time.

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The initial version of City Safety, first launched in 2010, was designed to look for other cars, but Volvo has taken advantages of advances in vision processing, data crunching and software to continually update the system, which uses both a camera hidden on the windshield side of the rearview mirror and a radar sensor in the vehicle’s grille.

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