Volvo XC60:

Volvo Growth Strategy – New Management, New Strategy, New Drive-E Powertrains, New Vehicles

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Volvo Growth Strategy: Tony Nicolosi, new President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America says 90% of the senior management of VCNA is new since he took over in October 2013. Volvo’s marketing strategy is also going to change with the arrival in January of Bodil Eriksson as executive vice president of marketing and new advertising agency Grey London starting in March. Nicolosi says Volvo will return to its roots emphasizing safety, the environment and the family. The marketing budget for 2014 is bigger by about 50% but its emphasis will shift away from television to digital messaging.

Prior to becoming head of VCNA, Nicolosi was head of Volvo Finance in the USA, so he is very familiar with the leasing game. About 42% of Volvos are leased, well short of the leasing penetration of Audi, BMW or Mercedes. Going forward, Volvo’s lease penetration should increase with more concentration on more car for the payment and regular replacement. This will give Volvo dealers the first shot at putting off-lease customers into a new Volvo.


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Polestar Volvos – Look for the Blue Rectangle

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Volvo means safety, right?  Absolutely.  But Volvo is no longer alone atop the safety universe.  Other vehicles have achieved similar safety ratings and prospective buyers need additional reasons to consider a Volvo than its safety reputation.  To solve this conundrum, Volvo Cars of North America turned to Swedish tuner Polestar.

Look for the Polestar Rectangle

In 1996, Volvo began a long-term relationship with a Swedish performance tuner – Polestar.  Polestar souped up Volvos for the European racing circuit.  And, now, Polestar has come to the USA through the offer of a chip enhancement for Volvo sedans and XSUVs.  Polestar can either be added at the Volvo port or as an accessory by your friendly Volvo dealer.   At the dealer it will set you back $1,295 and Polestar says the chipping should take about ten minutes.  You get a lot of bang for the buck.

If you get your Polestar upgrade when you take delivery of your new Volvo, it can be residualized in a lease or financed with the vehicle.  Volvo’s warranty and maintenance plans remain in place.  It’s pretty seamless.


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2008 Portuguese International Auto Show

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OK, here I am in Lisbon attending Nissan 360 – an event to showcase Nissan’s worldwide product to worldwide media. Jetlag not being a favorite of mine, I decided to come to Lisbon a couple of days early. LAX to Amsterdam to Lisbon. Luckiily, no connections were missed and got in at 230PM right on time. Checking into the Lisbon Marriott, the desk clerk happened to mention that there was a car show beginning. How convenient, car shows are my thing.

Portugal Auto Show Ticket .jpg

After showering, I hopped in a cab and quickly arrived at 2008 Salao Inernacional do Automovel de Portugal. Nine Euros later I walked into Hall 1 and began the journey. The Portugal International Auto Show is not huge like Frankfurt, or Tokyo, or maybe Detroit, but it is spread over four spacious halls. Clearly the automakers did not have their A-Class displays here, but the displays were very competitive. Everybody was here – many not playing in the USA – except Opel (General Motors), Jaguar/Land Rover and Porsche were conspicuously absent (or I somehow missed them in my two sweeps of the show). The show did have many smaller cars that are available in Europe and likely would do pretty well in the USA given today’s fuel price environment.
I don’t intend on going through the show car-by-car, but I thought seeing some highlights would be interessting. Here goes.
Mitsubishi Concept CX SV .jpg

WOW!!! Mitsubishi Concept CX small 3-door is a stunner.

Audi A1 Coupe SV.jpg

Audi A1 Quattro Coupe Shows Direction of Smallest Audi Entry

Citroen Air Play F34.jpg

Cute Citroen Air Play has rear sliding targa roof and drop glass rear window.

Ford Fiesta 5dr R34.jpg

Ford Fiesta 5-door hatchback. Jury is Out Whether USA Will Get It. I want it.


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2009 Volvo XC60: First Official Pictures

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Formal Worldwide Reveal Set for Geneva Auto Show
Volvo is among several luxury makes adding smaller and smaller crossover SUVs over the coming years, as consumers get more concerned about fuel economy and worldwide regulations get tighter. Whether the European CO2-emissions regulations or U.S. CAFÉ standards, the combination of buyer sensitivity and governmental interference means smaller, more efficient, and lighter vehicles are on the horizon.

Vol_09_XC60_bl_10.jpg

The XC60 goes on sale in the States in early 2009, and will be offered with only one powertrain. This single powertrain, a 285HP six-cylinder, should provide a nice combination between get-up-and-go and efficiency. Judging by these photos, I’m looking forward to seeing the XC60 on the road and getting my chance behind the wheel. Smaller and better-looking than the aging XC90, its size is better suited to my own life. U.S. buyers get their first look in March at the New York auto show.
Vol_09_XC60_bl_5.jpg

There are buyers for whom small but Spartan will not be acceptable, and they are being targeted with vehicles like the XC60. Small, nimble, but still practical in both cargo and their cost-per-mile. Volvo looks to sell 50,000 XC60s around the world, with the United States one of the top five markets. These entries are not poised to take the lion’s share of SUV sales, but they will be important for the bottom line, for meeting regulations, and for keeping market share.
Enough talk. More photos, plus Volvo’s official release, below the fold.


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VehicleVoice#61 – A Tour of the Latest in Concept Vehicles with Jim Hall

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There are few things more fun than walking through a major auto show along side AutoPacific Analyst and former General Motors brainiac, Jim Hall. You have to be patient. He knows everybody and everybody knows him, so the going is often slow. But the one liners you get to overhear as he comes upon the latest in concept cars are worth the wait. So we decided to follow him around the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but this time,we brought the video camera.
Jim checked out the new Cadillac CTS, due to hit showroom floors this October. If you haven’t seen this performance sedan yet, you’re going to be blown away whether you’re a Cadillac fan or not. Cadillac must have had BMW’s 5 series and the Audi A6 in the crosshairs when they dreamed up this beauty. Even Jim was impressed.
He also reviewed a crop of new concepts –
Lexus IS-F
Lexus LF-A
Volvo XC60
Mercedes S-Class Convertible Ocean Drive
Chevrolet Volt
Jim went to design school, so watching him chat about stamped steel is actually interesting. And you can’t beat descriptions like “swoop du jour” and “Ingmar Bergman on acid.”
Thanks for the stroll, Jim. It was fun.

Show Runtime – 14:44


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