The AP reports a massive drop in orders for Volvo trucks from Sweden. Net orders for 3rd quarter 2007 were 42,000. This year it’s 115. One hundred fifteen, period. Third quarter profit sank by 37%.
The company said it expected the European truck market to grow between zero and 5 percent in 2008, down from an earlier estimate of 10 percent. The North American truck market would decline by 10 percent this year, Volvo said, downgrading its earlier forecast of a flat market.
Danske Bank analyst Carl Holmquist said the results were significantly below what the market had expected, especially the slowdown in the order intake.
“Volvo has driven into the recession a little bit too fast,” he said.
I had no idea the extent of Volvo Group. I see their trucks on the road in the US all the time, but didn’t know they also own Mack Truck, Renault Truck and Nissan Diesel. Of course, the auto division was sold to Ford a while ago.
A 70′s 244 cruises along a wind-swept landscape, slaloming around a reproduction of Cadillac Ranch. Over eerie electronic music the voice-over extolles the longevity of the Volvo, built for a life-span of “…16.2 years. It’ll be there long after todays fashion trends are dead and buried.” I’m looking at 17 years in January.
Naomi Watts passes a white 244 on the side of a rainy street in the movie “The Shaft“.
Originally released as “Down“, it’s a movie about the “tallest building in the world” and its killer elevator shaft. It was filmed in early 2001 and there are a few shots with the World Trade Center in the background. The movie was never seen in US theaters because the scheduled release date was after 9/11/01 and no one had the stomach for a flick featuring a decapitating elevator. It was released to video two years later.
Image from IMCDB.
No, Smitty isn’t flashing the Volvo “V” sign. He’s ordering 2 Ford Flexes from Queens Boulevard Fordlincolnmercury. Amusing ad.
The rear springs of the brick sag so bad that it bounces like a Slinky when I hit a speed bump. At 145k it’s not a surprise, especially since I have no idea what the previous owner used to put in the back. Getting new KYB shocks didn’t help much, so I figure they need to be replaced. Now I need to decide how crazy to go.
Original springs would be fine, at $90-100 for the rear pair, and would probably boost the sagging rear by a 1/2″ or so. Or I could do the sport springs from iPD for $250 for all 4 wheels. This would lower the car by an inch or more. That’d make the handling better but I’m not sure I’d want that considering the potholes in my neighborhood. It also raises the complication of changing the front springs, which would be a PITA.
But it looks pretty cool, as can be seen here and here.
Terrapass.com has a carbon footprint calculator that allows you to see how much pollution you emit based on the car you drive and how you live. According to my input of 8,000 miles a year, it calculates I produce 7,826 lbs of CO2 per year. It would cost me $47 to offset those emissions.
The site provides information comparing the brick to other types of vehicles and average US mileage. Click here, or the graphic above to see the details.
In seeing some early prototypes of the Ford Flex I thought it looked goofy. But when it was put into production and out on the streets I thought it could be a cool alternative to SUVs. It’s not quite a station wagon, but not a giant monster truck. It’s stylish and boxy, has tons of cargo room without having a super-high center of gravity. Pretty cool.
The NY Times wrote a favorable review but after looking at the specs I was turned off. This oversized Scion xB weighs in at 4,400-4,600 lbs and is (under)powered by a 262hp, 3.5 liter V6.
The base model is front-wheel drive. Hasn’t Ford learned anything from the success of the Chrysler 300/ Dodge Charger? Build some cool RWD cars! Gas mileage for the 4WD version is 16city/22hwy. Embarrassing for a V6.
Oh, Flex, I had high hopes. But I should have figured Ford wouldn’t be able to build a wagon that wasn’t overweight and guzzled gas. It must be hard to break from the institutional addiction to SUVs. Good effort though.
Travels & Tribulations
My daughter Claire has started retching every time we approach the Brick now. She complains about having to get in because it’s an “old car”. I think she’s gotten motion sickness so many times that she now associates the car with vomiting and has a psychosomatic reaction. Or maybe we didn’t clean up the puke well enough from her last incident. At least we have vinyl seats.
I tried to fix the situation by getting a “new car scent” deodorant disc to clear the air but I don’t think it helps. It would take a carpet replacement to get this car to come close to smelling like new; instead the thing now smells like a bar of soap. Claire keeps telling me I should buy the red Cobra Mustang she saw in Auto Trader. Sure thing.