AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Volvo is a brand that established a reputation of safety and reliability, but rarely received praise for sporty or exciting looking cars. The S60 concept was unveiled in 2008 and changed that perception, showing a new design direction which is being adopted across the Swedish automakers full line.
Cadillac has just revealed the pricing for its 2013 Cadillac ATS sport sedan that is poised to take on the highly competitive segment. Available in three powertrains, and tested at various racetracks around the world, the ATS is looking to make a big splash in the sport sedan market.
Volvo has issued out a recall for 2,742 of its 2012 S60 sedan and XC60 crossover for a potential fire risk. The NHTSA recall report cites that an incorrect mixture of underbody coating could have been over applied, resulting in “rigid, icicle-like areas hanging from vehicle’s undercarriage.”
Those icicle-like areas can penetrate the fuel lines causing leaks, increasing the likelihood of a vehicle fire. The recall will begin on April 13th and dealerships will inspect the underbody to remove any excess coating and ensure that the fuel lines have not been damaged. If the fuel lines are damaged, the dealerships will replace them free of charge.
Luckily no crashes on injuries related to the issue have been reported.
Volvo is hardly known for exciting automobiles, never mind ones that are meant to go fast. Though the Swedish automaker has been changing their models to be more hip and stylish over the recent years, the vast majority would still find the words “great looking Volvo race car” to be an oxymoron.
But that is exactly what the Volvo S60 TTA is – a great looking Volvo race car. Its mean low profile and perfectly executed widebody does the light blue paint justice. But more importantly, it just looks like a real race car despite obviously being a Volvo at the same time.
The S60 TTA will be competing in the Swedish Racing Elite League and features a carbon fiber body, vented hood, aerodynamically-tuned side skirts, and a race-typical rear spoiler. Four-piston calipers with 14.6-inch rotors up front and 14.2-inch rotors in the rear handle braking duties while the S60 TTA will race on 18-inch wheels.
Under the hood is a hybrid V6 powerplant with 420-hp mated to a six-speed sequential transmission. Two teams will be competing with the S60 TTA, Volvo Polestar Racing and Volvo Polestar Performance. The three drivers that are confirmed to pilot these magnificent race machines are Robert Dahlgren, Fredrik Ekblom, and Thed Björk.
For decades, the Volvo brand was the epitome of safety. Many perceived the Swedish automaker’s models to be bland and boring, but one thing was for sure: they were built like tanks.
Nowadays though, Volvo has developed a reputation for having sportier vehicles while maintaining the safety standards they established throughout the years. And now their 2012 S60 has joined the ranks of Chevrolet‘s Camaro in becoming the second vehicle ever to score perfect ratings in every category of NHTSA crash testing, since they changed the standards in 2011.
The three tests that the S60 aced with no issues were a 35-mph frontal collision, a 38.5-mph side impact and a 20-mph simulation of a side crash into a pole. All three sound incredibly uncomfortable and hopefully no one ever has to put their vehicle to the test; but certainly it’s nice to know if you own an S60 that you’re more than protected if the circumstances does arise.
Check out a trio of crash videos after the break, because we always love watching cars get demolished on purpose.
The results for the most successful cars of 2011 so far are in. Automotive data and marketing solutions company Polk has calculated the results from the first six months of 2011 new vehicle registrations and have come up with the top picks for non-premium and premium models.
These results look at model-level performance and determine which ones are doing well so far this year. It’s also important to note that the March Japanese earthquake/tsunamis have had an impact on these results, and the inventory shortages for Toyota and Honda caused by the disaster have impacted the June 2011 CYTD (Calendar Year To Date) retail results for these brands.
Here’s a list of the winners so far, along with the June 2011 CYTD year-over-year improvements in new retail registrations.
1. Hyundai Sonata (+32%)
2. Volkswagen Jetta (+69%)
3. Ford Fiesta (not on sale in 2010)
4. Chevrolet Cruze/Cobalt (+178%)
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee (+170%)
Other non-premium models that performed well in the first half of 2011 include the Optima, Regal, 200/Sebring, Durango, Elantra and Equinox.
1. Cadillac CTS (+54%)
2. BMW 5-Series (+56%)
3. Jaguar XJ (+273%)
4. Porsche Cayenne (+178%)
5. BMW X3 (+276%)
An honorable mention goes out to the Volvo S60, another premium model that has performed well in 2011.
Hot on the heels of Volvo announcing their Performance Concept Prototype C30, Volvo Car Australia has pulled the wraps off their S60 Performance Project, a collaboration between Volvo, Heico and Polestar. Starting with an S60 T6 R Design, the Australian tuners has increased horsepower by 24-hp to 324-hp and torque has gone up close to 30 lb-ft of torque to 354 lb-ft.
No details were released on how the performance gain was achieved, but a the release did state a new exhaust system is on the Performance Project along with 19-inch wheels with Pirelli tires. Suspension is also upgraded on the sedan, lowering the vehicle by .6-inch with 15-percent stiffer springs with 20-percent stiffer bushings than the regular S60.
Volvo Car Australia is currently gauging interest in their S60 Performance Project and depending on demand, they may be building the S60 in limited numbers.
GALLERY: Volvo S60 Performance Project
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]
Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group spent $1.7 billion last year to acquire Volvo from Ford Motor Co.,and now plans to spend as much as $11 billion on Volvo products and facilities over the next five years.
Doug Speck, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, says a growth strategy for the United States will be completed by the end of next month. He explains that the plan will call for new vehicles and possibly an American plant.
Speck expects 60,000 to 70,000 cars. He explains there is some uncertainty related to what the effect of the Japanese disaster will be in terms of production. Speck also explained that 2011 sales will be predominantly driven by the S60. Speck said, “We could easily see ourselves selling 15,000 to 20,000 S60s this year — a huge increment year-on-year from that car line”.
[Source: Automotive News]
“Receiving the International Sedan of the Year award demonstrates that the advanced technology, safety features, masterful Scandinavian design and award-winning engine resonate with industry experts,” said Jeff Pugliese, president of Volvo Canada.
The 12-person jury, comprised of automotive journalists, was the same committee that voted the Nissan Leaf International Car of the Year for 2011. The S60 may be new, but it was praised for its dependability.
Volvo is sponsoring baseball coverage for MLB.TV for the month of April, providing free streaming baseball coverage to fans as long as they can sit through some ads for the new S60 sedan.
Volvo, whose baseball presence includes a massive billboard at Fenway Park’s Green Monster, is making out-of-market baseball games available through the iPhone app “At Bat,” which costs $14.99 through Apple’s App Store. Regular coverage of MLB.com costs $25 for a monthly premium package otherwise.
The company’s previous sports sponsorship efforts include sponsoring Big East NCAA basketball for the past two years, and this time they’re reaching out to baseball fans with the new S60 sedan, the “naughty” Volvo. Before Volvo, what was even naughtier than that? Re-broadcasting Major League Baseball with implied oral consent, not express written consent—or so the legend goes.
[Source: New York Times]
Read AuoGuide’s 2011 Volvo S60 Review here
K-Pax Racing has fielded a team of Volvos in the SCCA’s World Challenge season with considerable success over the past few years and have announced they continue to do so in 2011.
With the series set to get underway at St. Petersburg, Fla., in late March, the new cars won’t debut until April at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. Until then we’ll have to settle with a teaser of the 2011 S60 model.
With it, K-Pax is looking to defend its Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ championships from last year.
Each spring, a jury of 66 automotive journalists from around the globe get together to pick a winner for the World Car of the Year title. The journalists are asked to vote by secret ballot, selecting the winner from 10 cars that have made the final cut.
For the 2011 awards, those finalists have now been announced. They are: Audi A1, Audi A8, BMW 5-Series, BMW X3, Jaguar XJ, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (shown above), Nissan LEAF, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo S60/V60.
And yes, the much hyped Chevrolet Volt didn’t make the cut this time around, perhaps next year when it becomes more widely available.
Now that the finalists for this year’s awards have been announced, the jurors will ‘re-evaluate’ each vehicle on merit, value, safety, emotional appeal, significance and environmental impact. Once the findings of these evaluations have been tabulated, the shortlist will be whittled down to three vehicles, which will be announced at the Geneva Auto Show next month. The actual World Car of Year winner, will be announced at the New York International Auto Show on April 21st; the final ballots being tabulated by international accounting firm KPMG.
The World Car Awards were first instigated in 2003 to reflect a more global automotive landscape and complement existing national and regional Car of the Year award programs.
Past WCOTY winners have generally been cars that have proved popular in many countries around the world. The first car to actually win the accolade, back in 2005, was the Audi A6, while past winners have included other top selling cars such as the BMW 3-Series; Mazda 2 and Volkswagen Golf.
Volvo‘s new S60 is an absolutely wonderful car, and our review (coming soon) will reflect that. We’re not the only ones either, as praise for the car has been unanimous. While there’s often a disconnect between what auto journalists like and what consumers actually buy.
We’re glad to see that the S60 has gone from selling a mere 6 units this time last year to selling 1042, an increase of 17,267 percent. Yes, the S60 still lags far behind most of the big players, but it’s a promising start for a car that deserves all that the marketplace has to offer. You can see the full sales breakdown at Timothy Cain’s wonderful blog, Good Car Bad Car.
Volvo will reduce the number of models sold in the United States as part of their effort to bump up sales. While Volvo currently sells nine models in the United States, three of them are expected to be cut.
The first victim is expected to be the V50 wagon, a car well regarded by the automotive press but largely ignored by the buying public. Speaking to Automotive News, Volvo’s U.S. chief Doug Speck said that the S60 sedan and XC60 and XC90 crossovers will remain the focus of the brand. That leaves the C70 convertible, C30 small coupe, XC70 crossover, S40 compact sedan and S80 large sedan left as potential candidates for culling.
Volvo sells 50 percent fewer cars than it did at its peak in 2004. One dealer lamented the lack of green products as a major handicap, noting Volvo’s typical owner profile and their frequent association with environmental causes. “The very seriously lacking element in the United States is that we have exactly zero green products — no diesel, no hybrids, nothing,” said Kjell Bergh, a Minneapolis-area Volvo dealer.
[Source: Automotive News]
NHTSA has announced that just over 6,000 2011 Volvos will be recalled due to an issue that could see a fuel cutoff engaged due to the engine computer’s parameter being too sensitive.
Drivers could have the fuel cutoff engaged at an inappropriate time, causing the engine to stall. The defect is present in the 2011 S60, S80, XC60 and XC70 models. Volvo will update the engine computer software free of charge something around December 10th. Owners can contact Volvo at 1.800.458.1552 or at email@example.com.
Volvo is set to enter the World Touring Car Championship in 2011, and while the brand isn’t normally associated with motorsports, the Volvo 850 wagon had a previous campaign in the British Touring Car Championship, where it was famous for being a station wagon, and having a penchant for going up on three wheels.
Now, Volvo is planning to return to touring cars with a WTCC entry based on the S60. A successful season in the Swedish Touring Car Championship spurred Volvo on to the idea of taking their race program to the rest of Europe, and with top rivals SEAT and BMW scaling back their efforts, we’d say that the Swedes have a decent shot of winning.
Hit the jump to see the official press release
Volvo unceremoniously killed off their S60R and V70R some years ago, but they still kept their R-design appearance packages around, for those who wanted a more aggressive looking Volvo.
With the new S60 and V60 R-Design, the cosmetic upgrades are back, but a few mechanical changes are taking place as well. A strut tower brace, firmer springs and bushings make up most of the upgrades, but the real treat is a torque-vectoring traction control system that will appear on S60 AWD models. The new package will debut at the Paris Auto Show next week.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Gallery: Volvo R-Design
Randy Pobst’s racing resume is extensive having clinched Speed World Challenge GT championships in 2003, 2007 and 2008. Perhaps well known for driving the Tri-Point Mazda 6 from 2004-2007, Pobst joined the K-PAX team in 2007 and 2008, clinching the championship in their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car. But that’s all history now as Pobst has taken yet another championship (in the GT Class) for K-PAX, but this time in their Volvo S60.
Despite still having one more race at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah during October 1-3rd, Pobst has already locked down the championship thanks to a 212 point lead over second place, James Sofronas. Volvo has also clinched the manufacturers’ championship for 2010 with a 12 point lead over Porsche heading into the final race.
Pobst was able to lock down the championship with a second place finish at Virginia International Raceway. Pobst’s teammate, Andy Pilgrim, took the victory at the event in the #8 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 – giving K-PAX Racing a 1-2 sweep of the podium.
A huge congratulations to the team, and to Randy Pobst for adding onto his already impressive driving resume.
In a bid to improve fuel economy without sacrificing performance Volvo will bdegin fitting two new gasoline turbocharged direct-injection (GTDi) engines in two of its cars later this year. Both a turbocharged 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder will be offered for the new S60 and V60 wagon.
The 1.6-liter GTDi T3 makes 148-hp with as much as 177 ft-lbs of torque. As for the T4 powerplant, it will produce 177-hp and 177 ft-lbs, with an overboost function that delivers up to 199 ft-lbs of torque. Both engines will be made entirely from aluminum to minimize weight.
Volvo expects the new engines to cut fuel consumption and emissions by as much as 20 percent.
The new engines will be fitted exclusively to the S60 and V60 models at first and there’s no word on if Volvo plans to offer either in North America. And as unlikely as it is, the T4 engine could see use in the S60 here, or perhaps in the next generation S40.
We expect Volvo to make an announcement of the new powerplants when it officially unveils the new V60 at the Paris Auto Show.
GALLERY: Volvo V60
Last month Heico teased us with renders of their upcoming Volvo S60 accessories and now those renders have become a reality. Heico Sportiv even goes so far as to say the Volvo S60 is sexy and not chivalrous, but we wouldn’t want to take away a car’s chivalry now would we? Regardless, the new generation Volvos aren’t the same ‘ol tanks your grandparents used to drive to keep your safe. They’re sporty and unique, offering a unique blend of styling and performance. And the fact that Heico specializes in tuning Volvos makes this S60 is an instant winner.
On the outside, Heico developed a two-part front spoiler that flows quite well with the stock body lines while giving the front end a sportier look. Oddly enough Heico didn’t develop any side skirts to match the front spoiler, but there is a rear diffuser that is much more aggressive and complements the quad-tipped exhaust system quite nicely. A carbon fiber inlay option is available for the body components.
Heico Sportiv also offers their e.motion line of ECU upgrades for the S60, bumping the 2.0T’s horsepower by 47-hp (over the factory 250-hp) and peak torque becomes 258 ft-lbs, a healthy 37 ft-lbs more than factory. The T6 can also receive an ECU upgrade bumping horsepower to 330-hp and torque to 339 ft-lbs. We’ve now become oddly interested in the S60, a viable opponent to BMW’s 335i and Audi’s S4.
Heico also offers lowering springs for the S60 and their VOLUTION wheel program in 18- to 20-inch sizes. Interior upgrades include aluminum pedals and gear shift knob. All of these goodies will be available starting September 18th at an authorized Heico distributor.
GALLERY: Heico Volvo S60
Official press release available after the break.
Geely has officially purchased Volvo, the iconic Swedish automaker, from Ford, in a rumored $1.8 billion transaction. As part of the deal, Ford will continue to supply powertrains and other components for an unspecified amount of time, while both companies have mutually agreed to safeguard each other’s intellectual property.
Stefan Jacoby, formerly head of Volkswagen North America, will take over as CEO,while Volvo will retain their Swedish headquarters. Volvo is set to launch their new S60 sedan later this year, perhaps the last product developed under the auspices of Ford. Geely has confirmed that a new Chinese assembly plant will be constructed for Volvo as well.
[Source: Top Speed]