Dec
16

Volvo wants to sell cars online, skip most auto shows

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Volvo XC90

Volvo is completely rethinking its marketing strategy with an approach that it calls the Volvo Way to Market. The revised plan means an increase in the company’s advertising budget overall and a totally different way to allocate those funds. The most dramatic shift is the Swedish automaker’s decision to begin selling its models online directly to customers worldwide.

Volvo is leaving out specifics of its online sales strategy at the moment, but it promises that the approach doesn’t push out its current dealers. According to Reuters, models sold through the web still go through the seller network for delivery. “We don’t see a car distribution network without dealers in the foreseeable future,” said company sales boss Alain Visser in an interview with Reuters.

The automaker already tested the online waters this year with the Special Edition XC90 that sold out in 47 hours and for the 120 US reservations of the S60 and V60 Polestar models. Tesla has been one of the major proponents of direct sales thanks in part to its unique model of having discrete stores. However, BMW and Ford have also made attempts at it in some regions.

Volvo is also cutting back on big auto show launches and plans to focus on just three events each year in the near future: the Geneva Motor Show, the alternating Shanghai and Beijing Motor Shows and the Detroit Auto Show. Instead of making reveals at the others, the company wants to conduct its own annual event to showcase vehicles. The strategy includes cutting back on sponsorships as well, except for the Volvo Ocean Race.

In perhaps the most bizarre move of the bunch, the automaker wants its dealers to highlight the brand’s Swedish heritage. This means including “sound and smell elements that portray a Scandinavian spirit,” according to the company’s press release, plus Swedish cuisine in the waiting area. Read the full announcement below and look forward to enjoying some lingonberry jam during your next showroom visit.

Continue reading Volvo wants to sell cars online, skip most auto shows

Volvo wants to sell cars online, skip most auto shows originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dec
16

What you missed on 12.15.14

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uturn

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ANDIAL EditionPorsche 911 GT3 Cup ANDIAL track test

We get our hands on a very rare (read: it’s the only one), very powerful, and very awesome Porsche 911, and take it for a spin on the track. It’s called the 911 GT3 Cup ANDIAL Edition, and it’s a far more hardcore version of the already track-ready GT3 Cup car. It’s not cheap, but from our experience behind the wheel, it feels like a total racecar bargain.

TranslogicTranslogic: Porsche 918 Spyder

The super hot Porsche 918 Spyder may officially be sold out, but that hasn’t stopped us from getting one more crack behind the wheel of the company’s hybrid supercar. The team at Translogic takes one out for a proper test, with host Jonathon Buckley explaining why this Porsche is far more interesting than the rest.

Volvo XC90Volvo to sell cars online, skip auto shows

Here’s some interesting news. Volvo has announced plans to sell its cars directly to customers over the internet, as part of a new way to reach customers worldwide. Furthermore, Volvo says it will stay away from having a huge presence at major auto shows, focusing instead on three big expos. There’s a lot to learn about Volvo’s new plans, here.

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What you missed on 12.15.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dec
12

Volvo gets to work on new three-cylinder engine

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Volvo three-cylinder engine

Volvo is in the midst not only of a complete product line overhaul, but also a powertrain revolution as well. It introduced its new generation of Drive-E four-cylinder engines last year, and with the Twin Engine version in the new XC90, has shown just how much it can make from so little. But now it’s going even smaller with a new three-cylinder powerplant.

Currently undergoing development, the new Drive-E three-cylinder engine is part of a concerted effort on the Swedish automaker’s behalf to downsize its engine lineup. So where it used to offer five, six and even eight-cylinder engines, now it’s focusing on inline-fours and three-pots.

Volvo powertrain chief Michael Fleiss says the new three-cylinder engine will be “highly responsive, compact and powerful,” and will be offered in a variety of outputs ranging all the way up to 180 horsepower. That may not be quite as impressive as the 450 hp it’s managed to squeeze out of a four-pot with a supercharger, turbocharger and hybrid assist, but it’s pretty solid for a three-cylinder engine. It’s certainly more than the inline-threes in the Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper, Smart Fortwo or Mitsubishi Mirage can offer – or for that matter those in the Opel Adam or Audi A1 – though it naturally couldn’t keep up with the 362 horses produced by the high-performance hybrid three in the BMW i8, of course.

With that kind of power on offer, the new three-pot is slated to motivate models based on the CMA architecture which Volvo is co-developing with parent company Geely and will underpin the upcoming 40 series (including a new S40 sedan, V40 wagon and XC40 crossover), but will also be offered in the 60 Series (S60, V60 and XC60).

Continue reading Volvo gets to work on new three-cylinder engine

Volvo gets to work on new three-cylinder engine originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dec
09

What you missed on 12.8.14

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uturn

2015 Nissan MuranoWe drive the 2015 Nissan Murano

We found plenty to like in the 2015 Nissan Murano after taking it for a spin out on the West Coast, starting with its bold new style. There aren’t any major drivetrain updates over the previous generation, but the powerful V6 engine and CVT transmission that powers either the front or all four wheels is still a fine performer. Read all about it in our First Drive report.

Volvo XC90 T8 HybridVolvo XC90 T8 Hybrid to be fast and efficient

When the Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid finally hits the roads, it will be doing so with an impressive 400 hp and 472 pound-feet of torque. That’s an awful lot of power from a four-cylinder hybrid, and it’ll be enough to push the big seven-passenger ‘ute to 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds. Just as important is its estimated 59 mile-per-gallon-equivalent rating.

Worst Driver EverWatch this terrible driver and cringe

There are some people that probably just shouldn’t be allowed to have a license to drive. After watching this hapless BMW pilot take more than four minutes to exit a parking lot (but not before hitting another car), we fear for the poor Canadians who are forced to share the road with the woman who Canadian police have christened Calgary’s Worst Driver.

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What you missed on 12.8.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dec
08

Volvo XC90 T8 hybrid runs 0-62 in 5.9 seconds, will get 59 MPGe*

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2015 Volvo XC90 T8

Volvo has shown us the new XC90. It’s even shown us its new every-trick-in-the-book twin-charged hybrid powertrain. It just hasn’t shown the two together… that is, until now.

Although the High Performance Drive-E Powertrain prototype it showcased a couple of months ago was rated as high as 450 horsepower, the production version that will power the flagship XC90 T8 has now been confirmed to produce 400 hp and 472 pound-feet of torque. That’s still pretty damn good – especially from a four-cylinder engine – and is now quoted to propel the big crossover from 0-62 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds.

That’s not bad for a four-cylinder crossover, but if you’re wondering how it stacks up against the competition – well, there isn’t much to speak of. The only other luxury three-row crossover currently on the market is the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid, which doesn’t plug in and offers only 250 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque and takes a good eight seconds to reach highway cruise. (Other luxury hybrid crossovers like the Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg, Audi Q5, Lexus RX only offer five seats.)

To match the Volvo’s performance in a Mercedes GL, for comparison’s sake, you’d have to go up to the twin-turbo V8-powered GL550, which just edges out the XC90 T8 with 429 hp, 516 lb-ft and a 5.5-second 0-60 time. (One step down, the six-cylinder twin-turbo GL450 offers significantly less with 362 hp, 369 lb-ft and a 6.6-second sprint.) But the Volvo offers pure electric mode that’ll get you 25 miles down the road before firing up the internal-combustion engine.

Gothenburg is estimating that we can expect around 59 MPGe, still to be confirmed, from the XC90 T8, but that is using the lenient European NEDC testing method. Interestingly, Volvo is also quoting an emissions figure of 59 grams of CO2 per km (NEDC), which would be roughly 92 MPGe. We’ve asked Volvo for a clarification. Either one will easily make the XC90 the cleanest crossover on the market, at least until the Tesla Model X arrives in late 2015.

Continue reading Volvo XC90 T8 hybrid runs 0-62 in 5.9 seconds, will get 59 MPGe*

Volvo XC90 T8 hybrid runs 0-62 in 5.9 seconds, will get 59 MPGe* originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dec
07

Volvo adds 4×4 version of FL commercial truck

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Volvo Trucks FL 4x4

Some of the equipment from Volvo Trucks is going to be able to get a whole lot dirtier in Europe with the introduction of a four-wheel-drive version of its FL commercial truck. Designed to take on offroad duty, Volvo jacks up the group clearance by 2.4 inches (6 cm) in the front and 4 inches in the rear (10 cm), which also increases the approach angle to 25 degrees. To further keep from getting stuck on the job site or in the middle of the Swedish tundra, drivers can engage low range on the gearbox by pressing a button on the dashboard.

Operators can choose from a variety of load capacities, wheelbase lengths, axle ratios and cab configurations to fit their exact needs. Powertrain choices for the FL 4X4 boil down to two versions of the company’s D8K engine with either 250 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque or 280 hp and 774 lb-ft. A six-speed manual is the standard gearbox but a six-speed automatic is optionally available. Scroll down to read about Volvo Trucks’ latest go anywhere option.

Continue reading Volvo adds 4×4 version of FL commercial truck

Volvo adds 4×4 version of FL commercial truck originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 07 Dec 2014 12:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dec
05

Volvo coupe project on hold

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2003 Volvo Concept Coupe

Did you like the Concept Coupe that Volvo unveiled last year? We did, too, but we shouldn’t expect it to reach production. At least not yet.

According to Volvo designer Anders Gunnarson in speaking to Auto Express, the idea of producing a coupe has many fans within the Swedish automaker, but right now the focus is on its core models – starting with the new XC90. Gunnarson himself once owned a P1800, lent his hand in designing the C70 and would like to see a new coupe take shape – likening the idea to “having cream on the top of mashed potato” – but the company has other priorities at the moment.

Striking as it was, the 2013 Volvo Coupe Concept was more of a design study and a showcase for the company’s new design language than a preview of a specific model to follow.

The report would seem to uphold what we were told at the XC90’s presentation a few months ago in Stockholm. That’s where Volvo VP Lex Kerssemakers outlined for us a strategy that centered around a 40 series, a 60 series and a 90 series, with sedan, wagon, crossover and even soft-road wagon versions of each, but no coupes or convertibles for the time being.

That doesn’t mean that a two-door model couldn’t follow some point further down the line, but for the next four years at least, it seems Gothenburg will be focusing on what it does best. And that means four doors or five, but no less.

Volvo coupe project on hold originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Dec 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dec
04

Volvo’s ‘ditch test’ of the new XC90 makes for radical video

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Screencap from a video showing the Run Off Protection System on the Volvo XC90.

One of the safety features on Volvo’s new XC90 is called Run Off Road Protection, which detects when the car leaves the tarmac at high speed and prepares the cabin and occupants for an impact. After detection, the system retracts the seat belts while a spine protection element between the seat and the seat frame helps cushion the blow for passengers, the airbags are activated in case of a forceful frontal impact and release pin is sprung that retracts the brake pedal.

Volvo showed a computer animated model of the safety feature at work in July; it showed off the system in real life this month at a facility in Sweden. According to Frank Markus, the technical director at Motor Trend (who posted the event on his Facebook feed), the test vehicle left the facility at 48 miles per hour before driving over the side of a constructed road, hitting an embankment and going airborne.

We only get an exterior view of the test so it’s impossible to judge the explicit results of the system, but knowing Volvo, it’s probably pretty good. The video above shows the test at normal speed (the action starts at 0:23), two of the videos below are slow motion takes, the final video is Volvo’s animation.

Continue reading Volvo’s ‘ditch test’ of the new XC90 makes for radical video

Volvo’s ‘ditch test’ of the new XC90 makes for radical video originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 04 Dec 2014 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nov
20

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country rides in tall and rugged

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2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country

Long before Volvo got into the crossover-utility game with the XC90 and XC60, it was making ruggedized all-wheel-drive wagons. In fact it’s been doing so longer than Audi has, and almost as long as Subaru. And now it’s returned to that tradition with the debut of its new V60 Cross Country on the floor of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The latest Cross Country is based on the well-liked V60 wagon, with changes including a higher ride height, reinforced fender flares and skid plates all around. Its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five drives its 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels and even comes standard with Hill Descent Control, just like a real sport-ute, only without the extra weight and bodywork. Or to put it another way, think of the V60 CC as the newer, leaner version of the XC70 – a model that, with a new V90 (and subsequent Cross Country version of that) in the pipeline, Volvo might finally be able to put out to pasture.

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country rides in tall and rugged originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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