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Swedish automaker Volvo is looking to shack up with a new mate in the hopes of making a fresh set of small cars. Their current compact, the C30 (above), is based on technology from former parent company Ford.
However, Ford dumped Volvo almost two years ago, passing them off to Chinese Geely Holding Group for $1.8 billion, a fraction of what they originally paid. Now the company says the are welcoming partnerships with other companies to fill the void their former American partner left behind.
Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby told the Financial Times that the company is open to new partners who will be able to share in developing further compact models alongside Volvo in an effort to drive down production costs.
There isn’t an official decision yet about pairing up with any specific company, though it makes sense that Volvo would be looking for a new dance partner given that their current C30 line is nearing the time when a model typically gets a refresh.
The collaborative strategy is becoming increasingly common among automakers as profit margins start to wear thin. Last year Volvo agreed to work with German company Siemens to produce an electric vehicle.
Aside from business to business collaboration, Jacoby is taking Volvo in a similar direction as the last company he managed: Volkswagen. In an effort to cut costs, he’s taken the company from offering 10 engines to only two. He’s also implementing something similar to VW’s “modular box” approach to building cars, where multiple vehicles of different sizes are made in the same facility.
In the spirit of consolidation, Volvo is also expected to launch the compact V40 at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show this March. That car will replace the current S40 and V50 models.
[Source: Financial Times]
Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby has announced that their plans for a flagship sedan to compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series have been put on hold, and may be dead altogether.
“It is not in our midterm or long-term strategy right now,” CEO Stefan Jacoby said at last week’s Shanghai Auto Show. “That has been decided.”
Jacoby said that Volvo is preferring to concentrate on their core products rather than move upscale. Volvo is spending $11 billion to invest in new products and as many as 2 Chinese assembly plants over the next 5 years. The new plants would be a means of boosting sales in China, where Volvo hopes to sell 200,000 cars per year by 2015, but some capacity could also be exported.
[Source: Automotive News]
Based on the success of the new-ish XC60 crossover, Volvo will look to move further downmarket with a rival for vehicles like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
According to at least one report, the move is part of a larger plan to not only increase the volume of models Volvo produces, but also to expand the range of vehicles offered. The junior crossover, tentatively dubbed the XC30, would help Volvo gain back market share it has lost in Europe over the past few years while at the same time help grow the Swedish brand’s appeal with a younger demographic.
It would be based on an AWD version of the current C30 platform and share considerable styling traits with the best-selling XC60.
Expected to hit dealers in Europe by 2013, it should arrive in North America by 2014.
Volvo‘s CEO Stefan Jacoby is calling for a new focus for Volvo, and wants to see the Swedish automaker abandon its position as a premium brand meant to compete with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
“Let’s ditch this talk about premium,” said Jacoby while speaking to Autocar magazine. “It sounds like a pricing strategy and it’s got an expensive ring to it. We need to focus on elegant Scandinavian simplicity, our own unique identity, and not copy our competitors.”
For years, Volvo has enjoyed its own cachet, particularly in the United States, where it became synonymous with upper-middle-class suburbia, but sales have fallen to the point where Jacboy is alarmed.
“We have lost ground in the US,” explained the Volvo chief exec. “We are at the bottom, looking up.”
Under the new leadership of former VW USA CEO Stefan Jacoby, Volvo will look to rival established German automakers in areas of the market where they aren’t as well established. Before BMW can build up too strong of a following in the compact segment Volvo plans to launch a new platform that will be used to build both a sedan an crossover, competing with the likes of the BMW 1 Series and X1.
Rather than a coupe or hatchback, the Volvo’s 1 Series fighter will be a sedan (although other variants are likely), said Volvo Cars of North America CEO Doug Speck in an interview with Automotive News. This will, however, mark the end of the S40, which Speck says is already too close to the new S60 model.
As for the X1 rival, Speck says he believes that this will be an emerging segment and Volvo wants to play a part.
In addition, Volvo plans to launch all new versions of the S80 and XC90 over the next two years and both models will get their own platforms.
[Source: Automotive News via eGMCarTech]
In his first press conference as the newly appointed CEO of Volvo, Stefan Jacoby gave a vague outline of where he intends to take the company. Top on Jacoby’s list are improving Volvo’s emotional appeal and looking for ways to work with suppliers and other automakers in the industry.
Jacoby joins Volvo after heading-up VW’s North American division, looking to steer the Swedish automaker to profit under the new ownership of China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., after several years of consecutive losses under Ford.
“Volvo stands for safety, solidity and reliability but the emotional positioning of the brand is not sharp enough,” said Jacoby in a press conference Wednesday. No details of how Volvo would create more emotion were given, but over the past few years Volvo has made a push to be more innovative in its designs. Rumors point towards a new flagship luxury sedan to compete with the BMW 7 Series. Other possibilities include going the sports car route.
Making partnerships in the industry will also be a part of Volvo’s mandate, as the ability for smaller automakers like Volvo to compete on a larger scale is becoming increasingly difficult. Jacoby highlighted the company’s small size as a benefit, saying that because it’s nimble it can act quickly. He also said Volvo would look to partner with other automakers on projects and find economies of scale in the process.
The larger plan for Volvo, as laid out by Geely, will see the Swedish automaker double production thanks to a plan in China, while its operations in Europe will continue serving the rest of the global marketplace.
Last year Volvo moved 334,808, down from an all-time high of 458,323 units in 2007. Jacoby did say that while Volvo hasn’t turned a profit since 2005, it was profitable in the last two quarters under Ford.
[Source: Automotive News]
At the very start of Volkswagen‘s self proclaimed journey to become the number one automaker in the world, the head of its incredibly important U.S. division has departed – for Volvo no less.
VW has confirmed to members of the press that Stefan Jacoby is no longer with the German automaker. The word was spread at the launch of the incredibly important new Jetta, a vehicle that was tailor made for the U.S. market after decades where Volkswagen unsuccessfully tried to sell its European models to the North American mass market.
Reports emerged several weeks ago that Jacoby was leaving for Volvo and while there’s no official confirmation that he will start at the now Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, it was obvious from an earlier VW press release that the German’s didn’t want him to leave and that negotiations were ongoing.
The move to Volvo seems a strange one, with the Swedish brand’s future uncertain under the new ownership of Chinese automaker Geely. However, Geely seems to have a big plan for Volvo with serious investments planned. That investment would now seem to include Jacoby, along with his knowledge of the Chinese maketplace (after having worked for VW in China), not to mention what is likely a rather significant salary.
And while Jacoby’s move seems risky, the decision to stay with Volkswagen might have been equally so, with the automaker setting forth seemingly unattainable goals for the U.S. market in the next few years. Or perhaps Jacoby just didn’t like VW’s decision to abandon its European focus in favor of a Toyota strategy to sell economical cars.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is launching an ambitious plan to triple market share in the U.S. by 2018, with an electric vehicle and an all-new range of products designed with the U.S. market in mind at the forefront.
An electric car based on the Golf or the new Up city cars will by sold by 2013, while a hybrid Jetta and Touraeg will bow by the end of 2011. “Our goal is clear and ambitious,” Winterkorn told Automotive News yesterday at VW’s research laboratory in Palo Alto, California. “Volkswagen will be the automaker to mass produce the electric car for everyone.”
Volkswagen’s U.S. operations were shaken up by the departure of Stefan Jacoby, a 25 year veteran of VW. Jacoby’s exit left a large hole at the top of the U.S. subsidiary. Others think that VW North America and Winterkorn’s leadership will mean that the transition will be seamless.
“I don’t doubt it’s a loss,” Mike Tyndall, an automotive specialist at Nomura Securities in London, told Business Week. “In some ways the cake has been baked and it’s almost ready for the eating.”
[Source: Automotive News, Business Week]
Volkswagen‘s plan to triple its U.S. sales by 2018 and return to profitability after 8 consecutive years of losses may need to be revised suggests a new report by Automotive News. VW’s already lofty goals may now have become further out of reach with the recent news that the head of U.S. operations, Stefan Jacoby, has left the automaker to take the helm of Volvo.
Today Volkswagen CEO Dr. Martin Wintercon will announce detailed plans on how he still intents to achieve his goals, although we’re not expected to learn much, if anything, new, as the German automaker’s plans are already in motion.
With the launch of the new 2011 Jetta, VW announced pricing that is more in line with competitors, ending its premium pricing in the U.S. According to VW’s interim chief, Mark Barnes, the automaker expects big results from the new Jetta. “The new Jetta will be a very nice volume product for us,” said Barnes. “The goal is to bring the masses to Volkswagen who currently believe they cannot afford a Volkswagen.”
To follow the Jetta will come an all-new mid-size sedan, replacing the current Passat and VW has high hopes for this car as well. Critics aren’t as optimistic. Anil Valsan, director of automotive research at Frost & Sullivan in London, commented to AutoNews that, “I doubt that the new sedan by itself will suffice to propel their U.S. business.”
Still, Barnes says the company is on target to reach its sales goals and return to profitability by 2012 or 2013. Helping to do this is the fact that the U.S.-spec Jetta is less sophisticated (and therefore less expensive to build) than the European model. As well, the upcoming Passat-replacement will be built in the U.S. in a bid to save on production costs.
It would seem that for VW to succeed it will need added products in the U.S. marketplace. However, it’s still not clear if VW’s U.S. plan will include a version of the new Polo in the growing sub-compact segment.
Volkswagen will offer its new mid-size sedan with both gasoline and diesel engines says VW North America boss Stefan Jacoby. In doing so VW will be the only automaker in North America to offer a mid-size diesel sedan, competing against the likes of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. The popularity of hybrid mid-size sedans has grown and if VW decides to offer the same TDI motor that powers both the Golf and Jetta then we should expect hybrid-rivaling fuel economy numbers with the Jetta TDI achieving 29/40 mpg (city/highway).
The new mid-size sedan is expected to be larger and less expensive to help it compete with other mid-size sedans and while part of the cost is expected to be the result of a less-premium interior compared to VW’s current mid-size offering (the Passat), much of the cost savings will also made from building the car in the U.S. at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. The new mid-size sedan from Volkswagen is set to go on sale next year.
In other VW news, during the same press conference Jacoby waffled on earlier reports that the Golf R was destined for U.S. shores, saying the decision was, “still up in the air.” The main reason the car might not be offered in the U.S. is the poor dollar-to-Euro exchange rate right now. The Golf R, currently on sale in Europe, uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine to makes 265-hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque, combined with VW’s 4MOTION AWD setup to deliver a 0-62 mph time of just 5.5 seconds! We’ve speculated in the past that despite those reports to the contrary, the Golf R is unlikely to find its way to the U.S. due to how much it would cost here.
As for the Audi brand, the high-performance S5 model will continue to be offered with a V8 for 2011, rather than the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 currently being used in the A6 3.0T and S4.
Volkswagen will double its sales in the U.S. in the next two to three years says VW of America CEO Stefan Jacoby. Currently the German automaker sells just over 200,000 units in the U.S. annually, moving 213,454 cars and crossovers in 2009, down slightly from 2008. Jacoby believes sales will rise to 400,000 to 450,000 units in the next 24 to 36 months, in accordance with a larger goal by the company to deliver U.S. sales of 800,000 units sold in the U.S. by 2018.
To do this, VW is planning an onslaught of new models specific to the American market – something the German automaker has never really tried before. In the past most VW models were smaller, more premium and more expensive than their competition, but VW is hoping that a new mid-size sedan and new compact sedan that are larger and cheaper than the Passat and Jetta they replace will boost sales considerably.
Just recently VW also showcased a the New Compact Coupe concept at the Detroit Auto Show (above), that may also foreshadow a new coupe model from the brand as well as a hybrid.
VW has yet to confirm if its plans to grow the brand in the U.S. will include a sub-compact like the Polo model sold in the U.S.
[Source: Automotive News via Autoblog]
Volkswagen is hell-bent on cracking the U.S. market and has decided to follow a production plan that will see it essentially follow in Toyota’s footsteps – for better or worse. Now that plan seems to include a possible entry-level sports car designed to compete against cars like the upcoming Toyota FT-86.
In an interview with Car & Driver, VW of America boss Stefan Jacoby stated that a concept sports car will be shown in the near future (possibly as early as the Detroit Auto Show in January). It will be a two-door coupe with a notchback design and will be targeted specifically at the U.S. market – much how the FT-86 has been described. The only other detail we have it that will likely be over 180-inches in length… again, roughly the size of the FT-86.
VW’s plan to crack the U.S. market will also include a new compact car (which will retain the Jetta name), as well as a New Mid-Size Sedan (NMS). Both of these will be built at VW’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant with the new Jetta arriving next year and the family sedan the year afterward.
[Source: Car & Driver]
Next generation of original Jetta to be offered in GLI trim as well
Volkswagen has confirmed that the company’s new compact sedan will retain the Jetta badge. Until now it has been known only as NCS (New Compact sedan) and is part of a two-pronged attack that Volkswagen will be making on the U.S. market (and on Toyota). Volkswagen plans to increase almost four-fold, growing its sales from 220,000 to roughly 800,000 units by 2018.
A new version of the Jetta will also be offered but only in GLI trim, once the new version of the traditional Jetta debuts. The new Jetta will arrive in June of 2010.
The second part of VW’s plan involves the NMS (New Mid-Size Sedan), which will debut at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. It will be larger, less-premium than the company’s current mid-sized sedan (the Passat). It will also be less expensive as both it and the new Jetta will be manufactured at VW’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant. Despite previous reports to the contrary, VW has not yet confirmed if it will then eliminate the current Passat from the North American market. In all likelihood, the Passat isn’t likely to survive.
According to a report in Car & Driver, Volkswagen continues to be indecisive on the future of the Polo for the U.S., despite the recent introduction of the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2. VW North America boss Stefan Jacoby did, however, tell C&D that the return of the Phaeton is likely for 2014 (something that has already been reported). He also dropped an important bit of new info - the German automaker is looking to show a new notchback coupe concept in the near future with a series production version in mind. Could this be a competitor to the Toyota FT-86?
When Volkswagen’s new mid-sized sedan arrives in 2011, there is a strong possibility that it will replace, rather than join the Passat, in the German automaker’s lineup. VW Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby has said that the company is currently studying whether or not to keep the Passat, but all evidence points to its elimination.
Volkswagen has big plans to take on Toyota in the U.S. marketplace and to do so the company has finally admitted that its current lineup of European vehicles are just too small and too expensive for mainstream American tastes. That being said, if sales of the Passat are already not that great, offering a larger and less expensive vehicle certainly won’t help the car’s business case.
Last year VW sold just 30,034 Passat models, compared to a high of 96,142 in 2002. Sales for 2009 look even worse as the automaker has only managed to move 9,163, units so far. Volkswagen hopes to sell 100,000 units of the new mid-sized sedan initially with plans for increased market presence thereafter.
Currently the Passat sells from $27,695, while this new sedan is expected to be priced much closer to the $20,000-mark. The lower price comes as a result of the fact that VW will build the car in the U.S., at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
Volkswagen’s U.S. CEO has confirmed the planned return of the Phaeton. In an interview with The Detroit News, Stefan Jacoby outlined the German automaker’s plans to become a major payer in the U.S. market and to sell 800,000 vehicles annually by 2018.
The plan includes vehicles, many of them entirely new models, to compete in the U.S. market. Included in the list are a new mid-sized sedan, to replace the Passat, and a new compact sedan, to replace the Jetta. Apparently the Polo has still not been green-lighted for the U.S.
Along with an additional crossover, Jacoby did say that VW is looking at a top-level luxury car and even used the Phaeton name. The Phaeton, a massive flop for VW when it sold in the U.S. from 2004 to 2006, was based on the same platform as the Bentley Continental Flying Spur and was priced accordingly.
Jacoby did, however, say that the new Phaeton would be aimed more at the full-sized segment, than the luxury one, hinting that it would be designed to take on cars like the Toyota Avalon.
Fleet average set at 35.5 mpg by 2016
Yesterday President Obama announced a new proposal being put forward to increase fuel-economy standards across the board. If enacted, the legislation would see the fleet average for passenger vehicles rise to 35.5 mpg by 2016.
Currently automakers are facing an 8 percent increase in fuel-economy standards that would see fleet averages for light-vehicles (cars and trucks) at 27.3 mpg for 2011. Cars would have to achieve a fleet average of 30.2 mpg by that date.
The new legislation would see increases of 5 percent annually after that, with a fleet average of 35.5 mpg by 2016.
President Obama made the announcement at the White House yesterday and was joined by representatives of 10 supporting automakers and the UAW. In attendance were GM CEO Fritz Henderson, Ford’s Alan Mullaly, Chrysler’s Bob Nardelli, Toyota’s Jim Lentz, Honda’s John Mendel, BMW’s Friedrich Eichiner, Nissan’s Dominique Thormann, Daimler’s Dieter Zetsche, Mazda’s Jim O’Sullivan, Volkswagen’s Stefan Jacoby and the UAW’s Ron Gettelfinger.
If enacted the proposal would reduce America’s fuel-consumption by 1.8 billion barrels of oil.
The agreement was arrived at with the consent of California, which will cease to have its own fuel-economy standards.
The cost of achieving the new fuel-economy standard is expected to be roughly $600 per vehicle, a tab that will no doubt be passed along to the consumer.
[Source: Automotive News]
In an exclusive interview with Automotive News, Volkswagen North America CEO Stefan Jacoby let slip precious few details about the secret new sedan that is slated for production. But he did admit its existence, even saying that the final design of the vehicle had been agreed upon in just the past few weeks in Wolfsburg.
Whether it will look anything like the sketches that leaked out in February (pictured above), has not been confirmed.
What else we do know is that the vehicle will use VW’s 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter engines and will cost a very-reasonable $20,000.
The vehicle is slated to be produced in VW NA’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant with sales beginning in the Spring of 2012.
As for what else will be built at the plant, there is the possibility of a VW version of the upcoming Audi Q3 – although that may no longer be likely after VW announced a “project” had been put on hold in the U.S. after it decided to award the SEAT facility in Spain the contract to build the Q3.
Most likely to be built at the new facility are the two new Polo models that Jacoby has already confirmed are coming. With the current Euro-spec Polo deemed too small for the U.S. market, VW plans to bring a sedan and hatchback version of the Polo, but not until 2011. And where better to build a North American spec vehicle than in North America.
[Source: Automotive News via Autoblog]
As we have previously reported, Volkswagen will bring it’s sub-compact Polo to the U.S. but not until 2011. Even more surprising is that the vehicle won’t be the same one that was just unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show.
According to a Automotive News report (soured on AutoBlog) the 2011 Polo will come to the U.S. in two different versions: a sedan and hatchback. VW of America CEO Stefan Jacoby told Automotive News that the current Polo is still too small for the U.S. market – which is surprising because it looked pretty large to us in Geneva.
To resolve this issue, VW will build two new version of the car with a longer wheelbase and a slightly taller roof. The sedan model will be smaller than the Jetta and the four-door wagon/hatchback will be a competitor to the Honda Fit.
Jacoby did say that pricing for the sub-compact would have to be between $13,000 and $15,000 in order to compete in the segment, so expect the final products to have base prices in that range. In order to achieve that price, the vehicle will likely have to be built in North America – potentially at VW’s Puebla, Mexico plant.