Volvo Corporate | My Black Brick - Part 2

My Black Brick

Keeping a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon on the Road & Other Automotive & DIY Musings

A Grace Space


This Volvo “is aimed at the most demanding of customers: the independent woman in the premium segment.” So states the narrator for “YCC: Your Concept Car”, a look at creating an automobile specifically for women. Not to be confused with Rush “YYZ”, or F.U.B.U. “For Us By Us”, the YCC has such innovations as paint that is “just like a non-stick frying pan” and no easy access to the engine compartment. I assume this means that an independent woman in the “premium segment” couldn’t be bothered to know what’s going on with the car.

Over the soothing tones of new-age electronic jazz we learn it’s a “tough car” but not “brutal”. According to one of the women on the design team:

“You’re not buying a technical product; you’re buying by emotions.”

At :53 is my favorite part. A zoned out woman with a sweater casually draped around her shoulders wakes to tell us what our first impression of the car will be: “A feeling of, uh, grace… and, uh, space.” But she’s totally grace-less, speaking slowly and staring bug-eyed into the void.

VIA Sociological Images

BONUS: Trip out to the ambient music on this YCC promo video. Turn up the speakers for 9 minutes of hot buzz.


The Mystery of Selling Cars

Back in 2004, thirty two people in the town of Dalaro, Sweden (population 1015) bought a new Volvo S40. On the exact same day. What caused the entire town to buy the same car, separately, on the same day? Viral marketing, of course.

The “Mystery of Dalaro” was directed by Spike Jonze for Volvo’s European ad agency. It “documents” the phenomenon of coincidental consumption in a cute way. I especially like the Carl Jung reference. Don’t know if it ended up selling more than 32 cars though.

Via the book OBD: Obsessive Branding Disorder


Saab vs Volvo

saab_blowup… and Saab splits from Detroit first.

Truth About Cars has a great guest post from Stein X Leikanger documenting a marketing meeting during the continuing destruction of the “soul” of Saab under GM.

GM wanted Cross-Platform Synergies, and didn’t pay much attention to the individual brands. Just look at – I hate that place – they still think there is such a thing as a GM-car, at the expense of the individual brands, and they’re never going to abandon that mindset.

I wasn’t familiar with the “Saab versus…” ad campaign he mentions in the post, but a search for “Saab vs Volvo” pulls up this awesome clip from “Scorched Heat” of a 740t being chased by 900 series cop cars.


Ford to Sell Volvo? (Part 3)

From TTAC today:

Either Ford gets a signature from a willing buyer or Volvo will be terminated… Ford is reported to be asking between $3b to $4b for Volvo, much less than the $6.4b they paid.

And the potential suitors? China’s Chery. China’s Changan. China’s Dongfeng.

This is a far cry from the Swedish nationalization rumors that were flying around late last year. Whatever happens it looks like it’ll go down this month.


Making this blog sexier one picture at a time

s60Does Automobile Magazine really lead their article on the debut of the 2010 Volvo S60 with this paragraph?

Sleek and sexy are words that are rarely associated with Volvos. Rather, the name Volvo generally conjures up adjectives such as safe and secure. Yet, the 2009 Volvo S60 concept seeks to change that notion and instead prove that a Volvo can be both safe and sexy.

I feel like I’ve been time-warped back to 1997 for the debut of the C70. Or to art school in 1995 to revisit the death of painting, which had happened 10 years previous.

The suicide-door-opening, Benz-C-class-looking, curvy, crispy, sleek S60 concept certainly is appealing. Hopefully this blog will gain an ounce of sex appeal by being tangentily associated with all of it’s $50k+ glory.

Oh yeah, blah blah blah Detroit Auto Show blah blah blah economy blah. Blah blah blah stimulus package blah blah. Consumers blah blah wallet blah blah blah Big Three. Blah blah green blah blah carpocalypse.


Ford to Sell Volvo? (Part Two)

ford_broken.jpgNews this morning has Ford reviewing the sale of Volvo. The market reaction? Ford shares surge 12%! Then Ford shares drop 23%!

After an embarrassing showing of the big 3 in Congress a couple weeks ago, I guess this is part of Ford’s new plan to profitability.

Jalopnik asks the pertinent question: Who should buy Volvo?


Ford to Sell Volvo? (Part One)

From the AP, October 27th:

Ford Motor Co. may be joining the ranks of U.S. automakers seeking to shed operations, as a newspaper reported Sunday the industry bellwether is weighing a sale of the slow-selling Volvo brand to BMW AG.

Somehow I don’t see Volvo going to BMW. But I wonder if Ford will sell Volvo.

From Jalopnik:

It’s probably a bad thing to fly a private jet from Detroit to Washington, DC when you’re going to ask Congress to provide you a multi-billion dollar loan to bail you out of a financial crisis. That fact hasn’t stopped Ford’s Alan Mulally, along with the heads of the other automakers, who not only flew to D.C. in the Ford private jet but are, apparently, unwilling to fully cut themselves from the corporate crack that is their private air forces.



Volvo Trucks Crash in Europe

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.