Less is More: The Future of Volvo

By the mid-2000’s, Volvo had one of it’s most complex lineups in U.S. showrooms. With a total of eight (eight!) models, the Swedish automaker had enough diversity in it’s portfolio to take the premium vehicle market by storm.

Unfortunately for the Ford Motor Company-owned Scandinavian, the Ikea meatball batch of cars, station wagons, and crossovers wasn’t enough. With sales collapsing as a result of neglect from their parent company, Volvo was over-saturated with the vanilla branded C30, C70, S40, S60, S80, V70/XC70, XC60, and XC90. Yes, the nomenclature could be confusing and lacked inspiration (just like the styling and handling of most of its cars.) In 2009, the lackluster production resulted in a basement-level global sales figure of 334,808 vehicles. GLOBALLY. That year, Toyota sold 356,824 Camry’s in the United States alone in the same time frame.

 

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The woes suffered by Volvo were not for long though, as Chinese automaker Geely bought it in August of 2010 for $1.3 billion. Members of the public, skeptical of a “questionable” acquisition (especially those stateside,) began to pronounce the death of Volvo immediately. Fears of collapsing quality from an already bland manufacturer, as well as a general disliking of the Chinese, was enough to put the same fear felt for the now defunct SAAB (now owned by NEVS, National Electric Vehicles Sweden) into anyone paying attention to the automotive world. The general population, however, was to be proven wrong.

With the aged XC90 running on it’s 12th consecutive year without a full re-design, the resurrected large crossover, often considered Volvo’s bread and butter, was given a new lease on life. Every aspect of the 2015 XC90 inside and out was an absolute hit with consumers, from shocking “Thor’s Hammer” headlights to tiny Swedish flags adorned on the front seats and a 9 inch touch screen. There was nothing not to like, and sales inflated. 503,127 vehicles left showrooms in 2015.

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The future prospect of Volvo continues to balloon, with a new S90 mimicking the XC90 to replace the rather neutral S80, and a V90 set to follow. The S60 and XC60 received only minor attention for the 2014 model year, but replacements are soon to follow. The S40, which departed our shores several year ago, will come back with a compact crossover and eventual wagon to join. The lineup will eventually only have a 40, 60, and 90 series as compared to a decade ago, with a sedan (S), wagon (V) and crossover (XC). With a much more simple portfolio, Volvo is seeing success in reaching its goals for 2020.

 

 

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