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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.


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.