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The new and used car buying process has evolved from a weekend of driving from dealer to dealer to a few clicks of a mouse from the comfort of home. While the Internet is full of interactive manufacturer product presentations and enthusiast YouTube video reviews, one new vehicle document has remained constant for more than 60 years. Information on the web for used cars can be voluminous but the specifics on a prospective vehicle can be limited to a CarFax or AutoCheck report. The decision to buy one used Volvo versus another may come down to documentation. Sifting through ten years of service receipts and finding the original monroney label (window sticker) is a unique feeling only a car enthusiast can understand. This artifact from a vehicle’s history can be the one piece of documentation that sways a decision and quite possibly commands a few extra dollars over similar used model. For the 2014 model year, Volvo revealed not only face-lifted vehicles but also a reimagined monroney label.
In 1958, Senator Mike Monroney sponsored The Automobile Information Disclosure Act mandating manufacturers reveal information about new automobiles. All new cars sold in the United States with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 8500 pounds are required to have the monroney label on the side window or front windshield. The sticker must include the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), engine and transmission specifications, standard equipment and warranty details, optional equipment and pricing, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) city and highway fuel economy ratings and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash test ratings. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) incorporated additional greenhouse gas rating and smog scores.
Starting with the 2013 model year, the NHTSA and EPA established a new requirement to enable consumers to compare alternative fuel vehicles with conventional engines. Miles per Gallon equivalent (MPGe) is used for the number of cubic feet of compressed natural gas (CNG), kilograms of hydrogen and the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity equal to a gallon of gasoline. The new labels include MPG (city, highway and combined) and gallons per 100 miles or MPGe and kW-hrs per 100 miles.
Recent government changes to the label added new ways to compare energy ratings and provide consumers a baseline for vehicles but this information bloated Volvo’s pre-2014 monroney. When the California CARB label requirement was dropped, Volvo made the decision to retool the label from the ground up. Volvo assembled a diverse team from sales planning, government, marketing, and port systems, to name a few. The team of 40 collaborated for 12 months on the redesigned document. While the monroney appears simple and straightforward, Volvo spent months coordinating the logistics of loading data into port systems for each model variant, testing the paper type, ink weight and the timeliness of printing. As vehicles roll off a ship at port, the labels must print, be affixed and accurately display the vehicle information to include a bar code scanned by the truck driver confirming the correct destination dealership.
The design of the label took inspiration from Volvo models and traditional clean Scandinavian design. The typography and icons support the cleanliness of the final layout. The use of color was purposely removed. Ink colors curled during sun tests and background images behind text made the images, especially the with the tinted rear windows. Numerous layout and design iterations were performed during the yearlong project.
Working with Volvo’s agency of record, Arnold Worldwide, the team focused on ways to provide more information and value to consumers, especially those just starting his or her purchasing process. The project sought more than just a better-looking label. Volvo wanted more ways to connect the consumer and at the same time, offer a deeper experience when he or she explored a dealership lot. Volvo integrated the use of social media through a Quick Response Code (QR code) linked to Volvo’s Twitter handle. A buyer may not want to engage a sales associate, so this was viewed as a call to action directly to Volvo. The 2014 Volvo XC70s will include the QR code with a hope to expand to other models.
The team’s hard work culminated with a final design approval two weeks before the 2014s arrived at port. Their attention to detail is evident and owners with an eye for design will appreciate Volvo’s new monroney label. The monroney label is the one document consumers will review while making a new car purchase decision and many years later an eager Volvo enthusiast will enjoy reading the list of standard features and options.
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