Once again CNN Money’s Alex Taylor III writes an odd article based on a ridiculous premise that goes nowhere. While we previously heard him pontificate about station wagons, this time Taylor III writes of what he calls the “Curse of the Volvo 240“.
After writing about how the 240 has achieved a cult-like status as the lovable loser of the auto world, he then documents the decline of the Swedish company after the model was discontinued. He gives a basic history lesson that includes the attempt to shape Volvo as a luxury brand, the buyout by Ford in 1999 and the current resting place within the stable of China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
Rather than examining how the 240 cemented the brand’s reputation for safety and reliability, creating a “halo effect” that helped lift the public’s perception of subsequent models, Taylor III writes of the “bad luck” the company endured as it moved away from boxy and homely to sleek and luxurious. He sees the decline in sales as the result of a “jinx”, rather than a series of poor decisions by management and an inability to provide consumers with cars that are affordable and smart.
By allowing branding focus groups to guide decision making, Volvo lost an opportunity to exploit the niche, devoted following their company had established. The resulting decline is sales wasn’t from some weird, supernatural phenomenon; it was from the experience of consumers and their ability to see that the magic was gone. Alex Taylor III has it exactly backwards.
Ask any child to draw “a car,” and chances are you’ll get an uncanny representation of the Volvo 240.
The review is pretty good, as it covers the known issues of failing electrical parts (apparently made from eco-friendly bio-degradable materials) and the heater blower. Good comment below the article also.
On doing a Google search for “beater brick” to find the above image, I saw I have the dubious distinction of being in slots #1 and #2 for that term. Here’s hoping I can nail a three-peat with this post.
The video below offers a glimpse of the Volvo assembly line in Kalmar, Sweden in the early 1970s as it produces the 200 series model. It’s an educational video demonstrating new factory production techniques pioneered by Volvo and offers an amazing glimpse at how Volvo was trying to humanize the assembly line and improve worker’s satisfaction with their jobs.
IPD posted the video on their site, and I did a little research to find more info on this particular plant and the rational behind Volvo’s new assembly line. READ MORE…
The Volvo body design stood the test of time. The cars had thick door bars that linked into the overall structure rather than just “floating” in the door, waiting to hurt the occupants. The roof steel was so strong that car repairers used to use the roofs from wrecked Volvos to patch up the floors of other cars.
In the US, Volvo’s boast was that, for years, the fatality rate in its 240 models was the lowest of any car. Volvo’s safety reflected the work of engineer Nils Bohlin at the advanced Volvo Safety Centre. Bohlin invented the three-point safety belt and pioneered padded cabins.