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Gone But Not Forgotten
A lot went down in 2013. It was something of a banner year for the automotive business. Products continued to get better, sales steadily improved and alternative propulsion, whether in the form of electricity or diesel gained significant traction.
10. Volvo XC90
Shopping for a new car? Then chances are you’re not in the market for one of these ten vehicles. Unless, of course, you put a lot of value on the individuality of your vehicle.
The following list, compiled by TrueCar for 247WallSt details the Top 10 cars that sat on dealership lots the longest before being sold.
Coming in at tenth place is the Volvo XC90 which spends an average of 119 days in inventory, and has seen 4,705 units move off dealership lots so far this year. The XC90 starts at $40,615 and is a mid-size seven-passenger SUV and is the largest model in the Swedish automaker’s XC lineup. It might also be one of the safest SUVs on the market, but its traditional Volvo styling might be turning off buyers. The XC90 is powered by a 3.2-liter, six-cylinder engine with 240 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque and gets an estimated 16 MPG city, 25 MPG highway rating in front-wheel drive form.
10. Volvo C30 - 2,827 Units Sold
After checking out the top 10 best selling vehicles of last year, it’s now time to take a look at the worst performers on dealerships lots.
It isn’t a huge surprise to see the Volvo C30 on the list at 10th place, considering the Swedish automaker decided to give the vehicle the axe at the end of 2012. The Volvo C30 was on the market for six years in North America and sold only 26,000 units.
14. Acura ZDX
As 2012 winds to an end, AutoGuide looks back at all the vehicles that received the axe this year, some that will be missed, while others surely won’t be.
Starting it off is the Acura ZDX, a crossover that had a very tough time breaking into the market. Priced at around $51,815 including delivery, the ZDX was hardly a hot seller for the Japanese automaker, and it’s clear that Acura can’t wait to move forward from it.
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]
The words high performance and Volvo aren’t typically used in the same sentence, but in recent years, Volvo has really put a new focus on developing sportier and more performance-oriented vehicles. While they probably still have quite a ways to go to change the customer’s perception that Volvos are mainly safe and boring vehicles, the launch of a performance-oriented line will go a long way in establishing Volvo a high-performance manufacturer.
Volvo’s collaboration with Polestar, the company responsible for Volvo’s entries in the Scandinavian and World Touring Car Championships, seems to have blossomed with this baby blue Volvo C30 Performance Concept Prototype. It appears that this C30 PCP will make it to production, limited to only 500 units, and will feature 400-hp in an AWD hatchback. Pricing will be set at around $80,000.
Volvo is looking to expand their PCP lineup by adding other models to the brand, potentially providing competition to BMW‘s M Series and Mercedes-Benz‘s AMG models. Now whether or not buyers will take Volvo seriously is another question, but we’re digging what we’re seeing so far.
Like the waistline of its parent country’s bikini models, Volvo is considering trimming down—cutting its product line in half, including its legendary wagons.
Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby believes that in America, its core products are the S60, the XC60 and XC90 SUVs. That means no more S40, no goofy-but-unloved C30 hatchback, and perhaps most egregious of all: no more V50 and V70 wagons. What is Volvo without its longroofs? Who knows, but there will likely be some members of Ithaca, New York’s Free Tibet chapter who will be sorely disappointed.
As Volvo aims to sell 120,000 cars annually—it is currently pushing less than half of that, at 53,948 vehicles for 2010—it is also considering its own captive finance division through its dealers. It will need to ink a deal with a major financial institution, as right now Volvo only offers financing through U.S. Bank.
[Source: AutoNews via Autoblog]
Volvo is collaborating with Belgian technological and development specialist Flanders’ Drive to develop inductive charging for its model line up.
Inductive charging allows electric vehicles to be recharged wirelessly. A charging plate(conductor) could be buried beneath the driveway so when the car is parked, it will charge. ”The aim is naturally that it should be as convenient as possible to own and use an electric car” explains Johan Konnberg, project manager from the Special Vehicles division of Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo is focusing on the C30 electric design, and hopes to make it as comfortable, sporty and safe as the standard car. The electric C30 will have a range of up to 150 kilometers per charge and have a top speed of 130 km/h. Volvo’s ambitious “Drive towards Zero” program has the goal of a complete range of electric and plug-in hybrid cars by 2020.
[Source: The Green Car Website]
Defending World Challenge champions, K-PAX Racing, headed back to the podium in Utah over the weekend. After conquering their respective class last season and capturing the World Challenge Drivers Championship with their Volvo S60 in the GT Class, K-PAX’s newly built C30s are already looking like true competitors in the Touring Car class as well. Showing the team’s strength, the number 88 C30 driven by Aaron Povoledo topped the podium in the car (and the driver’s) second race.
Out in Utah, Povoledo started from fifth place and methodically worked his way to first by lap 18. From there he was never really challenged, taking the checkered flag 2.282-seconds ahead of second place finisher Ron Zitza.
Unfortunately their GT-class teammate, Randy Pobst, couldn’t put up much of a fight towards defending the team’s championship after his S60 ran into mechanical issues. Pobst currently sits eighth in the GT Drivers’ standings while Povoledo has now moved up to second in the Touring Car standings.
Volvo is third in the GT and Touring Car Manufacturers’ standings.
Volvo recently revealed that it is looking for 400 early adopters to test a prototype of its 24 kWh all-battery powered C30 Electric car. Better get in line early, because the limited range, practically hand-made vehicle will be leased for just $2,100 per month.
Why bother with an every day C30 four-passenger, two-door hatchback, when the exotic version can be had for 7.5 times more? OK. Snarky leading sentences behind, here’s a bit of background: Some are taking this as a sort of honesty index – with Volvo showing just how expensive developing a viable EV can be.
Its been alleged that presently Nissan has not pleased too many automakers for practically giving away its LEAF at $32,780 before $7,500 federal tax credit.
The first Smart ForTwo test EVs looked like a rip-off by comparison at $599 per month, but are those more realistically priced considering what it cost to develop such vehicles?
Like Smart’s initiative, the plan with its “DriveE-powered C30 is to get significant numbers on the roads as a test vehicle. Production versions that may be available by 2013 or so would come with a less-than-exorbitant electric powertrain, or so the plan goes.
For now, Volvo is calling on a pool of heavily subsidized, environmental-advocating organizations, government fleet users, and such. Its plan is they should ante up, so Volvo does not have to take the price hit in preparing to launch its EV.
About 300 C30 Electrics could be leased in Europe, and 100 in the U.S. – with 50 on the West Coast, and 50 on the East.
Sounds like a win-win between Volvo, “green” corporations, and other advocating entities spending other people’s money to help usher in the age of the EV.
[Source: Edmunds Green Car Advisor]
Video after the jump
While the average person might think of Volvo as a safe, but boring brand, the truth is, Volvo has been involved in racing for a long time.
In recent years, K-PAX Racing has successfully entered an S60 in the GT Class of the World Challenge Touring Car championship, winning both the driver’s and teams championship in 2010.
For 2011, they want to repeat their achievement and will be running two Volvo C30 hatchbacks in the Touring Car class. No driver’s have been announced yet, but K-PAX team owner Jim Haughey is excited about his new race cars. He said, “The C30 is a front-wheel drive, two-door hatchback with a 5-cylinder turbocharged engine. It’s relatively aerodynamic and makes for a great platform to race in the Touring Car class.”
The vice-president of public affairs at Volvo, Geno Effler is similarly enthused and said, “K-PAX Racing’s Volvo S60 surprised a lot of people by winning the GT championship last year, and I think winning a Touring Car title in 2011 with a C30 is a legitimate goal.” They are hoping to win both class titles this year with the S60 and the C30.
The 2011 World Challenge season begins with two races in St. Petersburg, Fla., the weekend of March 25-27. Check your local listings to see which TV channel is showing the race.
[Source: World Challenge]
Despite the American introduction of diesel engines from most major European brands, Volvo remains non-committal to the prospect of diesel powertrains in America.
Volvo offers a broad range of diesels in Europe and other markets, but Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volvo, offered little, stating “We are taking a deep look at whether we will introduce the diesels to the US.”
Volvo will also be downsizing their engines starting in 2013, following a recent trend embraced by manufacturers of all stripes. The first engine, dubbed the D2, will be a 1.6L four-cylinder diesel, to be fitted to the C30, S40 and V50 wagon – though that’s one engine we can’t ever see making it to our shores.
Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby announced a pilot project that will see 1,000 plug-in hybrid models based on the C30 hatchback. The vehicles will be offered in unspecified European and Chinese locations, as well as California.
The plug-in hybrids are part of an approach to meet growing demands for environmentally friendly vehicles, as well as boost sales for the Swedish auto maker. In 2004, Volvo sold 140,000 cars in the United States, while that number dropped to 60,000 in 2009.
[Source: USA Today]
File this one under unintentional hilarity. Volvo announced today that they were recalling 2010-2011 C30, S40 and V50 models equipped with manual transmissions. As you might expect, the number is fairly low, but we squealed with delight when we found out that the number was in the triple digits – 536 cars to be exact.
According to Volvo, a gearshift lever stud could come loose, preventing owners from changing gears. Dealers will fix the problem free of charge, but based on the number of manual Volvos in existence, they will likely have better odds of being struck by lightning than fixing the aforementioned problem.
Volvo will present a battery-powered electric C30 at the Detroit Auto Show in January, with plans to build a test fleet of 50 vehicles for real-world testing in 2011.
The model being shown in Detroit will be further along the development process than the prototype previously presented in September at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
“The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues. We have addressed these challenges without compromising the C30′s cool and fun-to-drive personality. I am very happy with the result. The electric C30 in Detroit is a much more complete product,” says Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.
Volvo will begin building the test fleet in 2010 before handing the keys over to selected users for a two-year trial.
Powered by a lithium-ion battery, the electric C30 can reach a top speed of /81 mph and a range of 94 miles. Volvo says the electric C30 can go from 0 to 60 in 11 seconds.
The battery can be charged through a regular household power outlet with eight hours needed for a full charge.
Gallery: Electric Volvo C30
Official release after the jump: