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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]
A new year is around the corner, and with every new year comes change. Numerous new models will be added to dealerships across the country, while for 2012 many other models will disappear.
From the Mazda RX-8 to the Honda Element, there are quite a few vehicles we’re going to miss and hope that successors come our way. Other models that caught our interest that will be disappearing from production include the Volvo V50, Cadillac DTS, BMW X6 ActiveHybrid and Ford‘s good ‘ol Ranger.
And at the list of not-so-interesting, but worth mentioning are the Mitsubishi Endeavor, Mazda Tribute, Chevrolet HHR and Ford’Crown Victoria. Oh yeah, and as we mentioned before, Tesla’s Roadster will be gone too.
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]
Two intrepid travelers set out to make the run from Marlow, U.K. to Mayrhofen, Austria on just one tank of fuel, using a Volvo V50 wagon.
This particular V50 example is a European market model, which features a 1.6-liter, diesel engine. Their task was to use hypermiling techniques to cover the distance between Volvo cars U.K. headquarters to the Volvo Ice Camp in the Tirolean mountains in Austria.
While the V50 featured the new DRIVe series gadgets, which helps improve fuel consumption by having a diesel particulate filter and start/stop technology to cut down emission when idling, the travelers still had a big task on their hands, having to deal with real life obstacles such as traffic jams, and driving up a mountain, which can cause extra strain on the engine.
In the end, the pair failed to cover the full 850-miles, instead did just 753-miles. They made it to base camp by first adding 5-liters of diesel from a jerry can, and then later going to a gas station.
[Source: Tree Hugger]
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]
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.
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.