Has anyone else seen this article on AOL Autos?
Very interesting read. I for one would wish volvo would stop chasing "luxury". IMO, they have enough as it is. But there is a lot of confusion out there right now on just what Volvo people mean when they say the word "luxury" .
It's possible the article writer may have also taken some comments out of context. My last memory is of Jacoby NOT wanting to chase luxury but that he described some aspects of a car, like ease of use, as being a "luxury".
06 XC90 V8
98 V70 T5M
I think the article was spot on when it came to Ford's ownership. Some good things came from Volvo during that time, like the XC90, but it was a very much one sided relationship, where Ford took all the gadgets from Volvo and gave nothing in return, and then, as the article stated, they had to keep all their cash to themselves to keep themselves afloat, so Volvo was left to its lonesome, with no money and pretty much no advertisement.
I like Jacoby's idea of wanting to make the cars more simple. I have driven 240's my whole life, and love how easy that car is to own. It meets all my demands in terms of durability, usability, and practicality. I also hope that Volvo does not want to chase the luxury image. I personally never want to own a BMW/Mercedes/Audi, because I do not need or have a desire to own a luxury car. I like where Volvo has IMO been, which is higher quality than the generic (Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, etc) but not the over done in your face luxury of the big ones, Mercedes, BMW, Audi.
I would love to move into a newer Volvo, but I am waiting for something more practical to come down the pipes. I would buy an XC70, but its gas mileage is not where I want it. If the diesel engine makes it over here in that, or the V60 hybrid comes here, I will sign on the dotted line right now. I am anxiously awaiting to see what comes from Volvo in the next 3-5 years.
2008 C30 R-Design - My new toy. 6-speed, Black ext, Black/White interior - no upgrades yet
2009 S60 2.5T - Auto - wife's car
1993 240 Wagon - Auto 106K - Cargo Hauler/Snow Mobile
Volvo needs to better differentiate itself from the Germans. In the past, they were boxy and safe...but also kicking the butts of sporty cars on tracks around the world. It's okay to chase luxury and sport but you need something else to help you stand out if you want to compete.
BMW is defined by its slogan, "The Ultimate Driving Machine" and, for better and worse, Audi by its own, "Vorsprung Durch Technik" (or Progress Through Technology; e.g., Quattro, DSG, its use of aluminum, etc.).
Volvo used to be the safety and reliability standout until the consumer market and tighter regulations conspired to gradually limit Volvo's headway here. I don't think anyone thinks Volvo lost its focus in this area as much as the rest of the market has caught up. Now you have Hyundais and Kias with 10yr/100K mile warranties and BMW, Audi and MB all offer cars with comparable levels of safety. Each manufacturer may have a standout with one particular safety feature but, generally speaking, none are producing "unsafe" vehicles by any stretch of the imagination...and by design (pun intended) Volvos are now blending into the traffic.
"That's a nice looking car."
"Thanks, it's the new Volvo S60."
"That's a Volvo?"
And, it might be but it also might as well be from any number of manufacturers. Volvo designers try argue that the car's hood design and other features evoke Volvo's design heritage. Blah, blah, blah. Volvos are best known as boxes. Show me the power dome on the hood of a 240 or 740 and I'll show you the crease lines in my shirt. Sure they were there but it's not what people recall most about those designs.
I think Infiniti has defined itself to the market as "Wants to be a BMW." For years, we've been hearing about how Infiniti has been creating cars that nip at the heels of BMW's benchmark 3 but who cares? It's been a success story for the G but what about the rest of the brand? Unless you can offer a 3 series at Camry/Accord pricing, who wants another 3 series with a different badge when you can just buy the BMW? Maybe "BMW performance for less" is their shtick. I don't see Volvo as an Infiniti wannabe and I don't think it's a solid long term marketing strategy without that something more to make the cars really standout.
There's nothing wrong with luxury or performance. Volvo just needs to do something else in addition to re-stake its claim in the market. Safety certainly has to be at the forefront and while I'm not suggesting that they need to be boxes, they still need a market differentiator...whatever it might be.
Last edited by Sue Esponte; 03-21-2011 at 11:48 AM.
The author must have done his research by reading SS. He is saying what the SS crew has been saying for the last five years. Volvo has been adrift.
So he wants IKEA design and Knoll prices, or is it Apple design and Apple prices. Muddled thinking Part CXIV.
"We have something like 20,000 employees, and I think I got 20,000 different answers," says Jacoby. "We are going to focus on what we are and where we want to go, and we are close to having a global brand strategy we are going to start communicating."
This all sounds like marketing gibberish to me.
Call me when he has a "global brand strategy" and is ready to communicate it. We were being told that it would be out by the end of the first quarter which is less than two weeks away on my calendar.
Better yet call me when he has some product to announce.
Back in '74 when I bought my first Volvo, a '74 142GL, Volvos were called a solid, reliable and safe "poor man's BMW." Then came the 2xx series, and they became the yuppies sturdy, safe and practical "daily driver" of choice. After that came FWD and who knows what they have become known as, and to which segment of the buying public, other than "safe." Basically, other than reasonably good styling, there's nothing right now to distinguish Volvos from any other "near luxury" FWD car.
'88 244 auto (parts car), '89 244 5 spd. (daily driver), '92 245 5 spd. (my car) '80 Holiday Rambler/Ford E350 (tow vehicle and track crash pad), '95 GMC K2500 (local hauler/back-up tow vehicle), '83 Mazda RX7 (race car when I have the funds), '99 Miska 20' car hauler.
The man's prayer: "I'm a man, but I can change, ... if I have to, ... I guess."