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Event Coverage: Volvo at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show

Chris Stewart

Jan 20, 2013 - 8:38:56 PM

Monday and Tuesday are exciting media days at the North American International Auto Show, also known as the Detroit Auto show. This is a great event for all auto enthusiasts. Manufacturers spend millions on creative booth displays, ornate media kits and delicious food native to the brand’s culture.

Volvo increased the size of their booth for 2013 with the S60 Polestar taking center stage. The booth was spacious and inviting with an attractive hardwood floor leading to a two-story enclosure housing similar to 2012 but with the most relaxing lounge of all the manufacturers. There were no new announcements at the show, those are being saved for the New York Auto show at the end of March. We expect several models to be refreshed during 2013, but it was not clear which would be announced at New York.

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The booth displayed one of each Volvo models, to include the departing C30 and C70. The Rebel blue C30 Polestar looked great next its big brother, the 500+hp S60 Polestar. The S60 Polestar is an attention getter and draw for Volvo. The management team spent time on Monday meeting the press and talking with big smiles about the S60. For those with a few hundred thousand dollars, a S60 Polestar could be in your garage. Our sources mentioned that six affluent buyers paid to own one of Volvo’s most memorable concept vehicles. When is the next mega-millions lotto?

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One of the best aspects of the Detroit auto show is meeting the staff from Volvo. Each brings a unique perspective to the brand and it is entertaining to hear about his or her “favorite” thread or comment on the forums. Yes, several of them browse what is written. For our readers, his or her perspective on the automotive world varies greatly. Some understand the challenges of bringing certain models or features to the U.S. At a small dinner Sunday evening, it was reassuring to hear directly from the new President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson. He spoke of how the U.S. is still Volvo’s number one market and he wants to do better. Håkan asked journalists for suggestions, and by far the number one request was for Volvo to bring back wagons. Manual transmissions and diesels were also debated. The option to bring manual transmissions to the U.S. as part of an overall fuel efficiency strategy remains, but similar to diesel, unlikely. Paddle shifters may be the only option to up the fun factor for enthusiasts.

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During several one-on-one conversations with Volvo executives a consistent thread emerged. Each is passionate about brand and excited about what is in the pipeline. Sadly, we learned that Hurricane Sandy claimed nearly all of Volvo’s classic collection save the models sitting in the Rockliegh, NJ headquarters or not at port when the storm overwhelmed the sea walls. All of the Volvos were destroyed, crushed and chopped up into small inch-size pieces. Volvo did not want any of its vehicles reaching the retail market; to include those OSD Volvos that had water just touching the bottom of the vehicle. In the final analysis, all Volvo employees were accounted for, the cars will be replaced and this was a large insurance claim. The Volvo collection will take years to rebuild and we look forward to seeing the classics rolling again.

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The NAIAS offered many new products from many manufacturers and we were excited to see Volvo have such a strong presence at this leading auto industry event. 2012 Sales were on the rise and we look to the New York Auto show for new product announcements.

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