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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.autoblog.com/2012/06/12/2013-volvo-v40-first-drive-review-video/
SOME EXERPTS
"The current cautious thinking within Volvo's new organization is evident in repeated pronouncements that the V40 is not earmarked for United States or Canadian sales. We hammered Volvo bosses on this issue, urging them repeatedly not to base their decision-making on the weak reception to the adorable C30 hatch or its V50 wagon sibling. Much of those models' lackluster sales have more do with the too-close-to-German-premium pricing that Volvo has stubbornly stuck to and the overall weakly represented and supported sales network just about everywhere Volvo sells outside of Scandinavia, not to mention the recent uncertainty of Volvo's future."

"Having now had some quality time with this new model, we feel Volvo should cease importing the C30 and instead explore the much finer chances of the V40. We are convinced that the Swedes at this event were playing it very close to their moose-skin vests; if the V40 does not make it over to the U.S., then Volvo should issue guns to its entire executive staff so they can summarily shoot themselves in the foot."
"We are adamant, however, that without the United States on the list of the car's recipients - and the U.S. is still Volvo's number one market by some margin - another terrific model with huge potential will most likely end up as a European footnote. The new Mercedes A-Class shouldn't be handed all of that potential on a silver platter. And if Volvo can resist the temptation to price the future 251-hp T5 at more than $35,000 for starters, bringing over the V40 might actually allow the company to gain back the favor it has lost over the past few years."
 

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I don't know what Volvo is doing, the V60 and V40 would sell well here, my V50 is 7 years old and still looks fresh and brand new. I guess I'll be keeping it for a while, my '82 242 has 250,000+ and still running strong, I have always owned a Volvo since age 17 ( First car,'67 122s) Sadly, there's no Volvo I will be replacing either of them with anytime soon.
 

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I don't know what Volvo is doing, the V60 and V40 would sell well here, my V50 is 7 years old and still looks fresh and brand new. I guess I'll be keeping it for a while, my '82 242 has 250,000+ and still running strong, I have always owned a Volvo since age 17 ( First car,'67 122s) Sadly, there's no Volvo I will be replacing either of them with anytime soon.
I do not believe the V60 could be succesful here (size-wise, price point, etc). However, I think the V40 could possibly have a future here under the right circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have to agree with Grecian on this one. Unfortunately the upmarket wagon segment the V60 would find itself in the US is just all but dead. I would love a AWD V60...and If they had the money to throw around then they could bring it and sell a few, like Audi and MB do with their luxury wagons. Unfortunately, most people shopping in the upper $30K range for a "wagon" in the US steer toward crossovers. Things like the xc70 and Allroads will probably make up the lonely segment for the time being, especially now that Audi is sacrificing the A4 Avant for the Allroad. I know Denver is a unique market as I see tons of C30's and A3's, GTI's, and even plenty of A4 avants around...but it has a young wealthy active population with lots of snow gear and dogs, so its a little bit out of touch with the rest of the US.

But on the cheaper end, i think a hatchback/small wagon like the V40 would have a chance. It would appeal to the younger buyer, not interested in the soccer mom high riding SUV/Crossover thing. I am certain that were a v40 available in the US, they would be daily sitings in the Denver market, especially if they sold them here with AWD. And they are just pretty enough they would probably do well in the south too.
 

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I'm sorry but I don't follow this argument that the V40 & V60 would not have a viable market in the US. I realise that as an Aussie I really can't be expected to understand the US car market but I don't think its that different from the our market - I certainly think our market is closer to the US market then say the European market. As I've said before, if Volvo Australia - in our very small market - can justify the V50, V60, V70 and this coming V40, I don't think Volvo NA is trying that hard. When you consider that the V60 probably shares 80% of its components with the S60 and would have much the same servicing requirements, why is it such an additional burden to also offer the V60 for sale?

Tony
 

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I'm sorry but I don't follow this argument that the V40 & V60 would not have a viable market in the US. I realise that as an Aussie I really can't be expected to understand the US car market but I don't think its that different from the our market - I certainly think our market is closer to the US market then say the European market. As I've said before, if Volvo Australia - in our very small market - can justify the V50, V60, V70 and this coming V40, I don't think Volvo NA is trying that hard. When you consider that the V60 probably shares 80% of its components with the S60 and would have much the same servicing requirements, why is it such an additional burden to also offer the V60 for sale?

Tony
Tony,

I have never lived in Australia and, even though, I have been around the Volvo brand for some time now I will not pretend that I understand the Australian market. On the opposite hand, I know the U.S. (note, the U.S., not the North American market) very, very well.

Your market is not the same as the U.S.

YTD, your top 3 selling models are (in that order):
XC60
V60
S60
With the V50 having very close, YTD, numbers to the S60 (difference of only 124 cars).

The top 3 models, in the U.S. this year, are:
S60
XC60
XC90

There is no way on this earth a V60 and a V50 would sell like they do in Australia...as you can see, Australia is a very wagon-friendly market...the U.S. isn't (sadly).

So, it is not that we are trying hard. It has to make sense. A V60 is pretty much the size of a V50 albeit a better product. However, it's size in that price range (mid- to high $30K USD) would certainly doom it.

On the other hand, I think a case can be made for a premium hatchback such as the V40 which, arguably, is a better car than the V60 in terms of "premiumness", more advanced technology and connectivity, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Correct me if I'm wrong Grecian, but it would seem to me that part of it comes down to profit margin. I imagine Volvo clears a bit more off the top from each car sale in austtralia, than they do in the US. Here it seems like its more of an economy of scale...ie lower profit pe car, but if you can move a lot of them then you make$$$. Australia in the grand scheme of Volvo is actually a tiny market, where they can sell every model, at a higher price point. Im guessing that getting approval to go to Australian market isn't nearly as costly as the US either. I often read that's a huge issue. The US doesn't see s60 and v60 as the same vehicle with respect to Federalizing and being approved for sale...so it's not as easy as just bringing both. Most car companies dont. Among big name plates with huge volume that have mid size wagons they dont sell here...Toyota, Honda, ford, Vw, Soon to be Audi And BMW.

Not to belabor the point but the US is crowded with respect to the car market. Competition is stiff in every segment, and profit per unit is small by comparison to most countries. Car companies just can't seem to afford a lot of wiggle room.
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong Grecian, but it would seem to me that part of it comes down to profit margin. I imagine Volvo clears a bit more off the top from each car sale in austtralia, than they do in the US. Here it seems like its more of an economy of scale...ie lower profit pe car, but if you can move a lot of them then you make$$$. Australia in the grand scheme of Volvo is actually a tiny market, where they can sell every model, at a higher price point. Im guessing that getting approval to go to Australian market isn't nearly as costly as the US either. I often read that's a huge issue. The US doesn't see s60 and v60 as the same vehicle with respect to Federalizing and being approved for sale...so it's not as easy as just bringing both. Most car companies dont. Among big name plates with huge volume that have mid size wagons they dont sell here...Toyota, Honda, ford, Vw, Soon to be Audi And BMW.
You are on the right path, here. It does not make sense for any manufcaturer to introduce a product in a market where a profit cannot be made. However, there are many factors driving profitability and some have to do with margin which can be eroded by currency differences (unless you have a manufacturing plant in the economic zone where that market resides), marketability and, ultimately, sales and selling parts/accessories for that model.

As you indicated, the cost of federalizing a new model is staggering so the right scenario has to be present in order to make sense bringing a car in.

Australia is a very small market, especially when compared to the U.S.; their monthly sales rarely hit 4 digits. However, because of the way Australians live, wagons are a big part of the lifestyle there hence the success of two very similar models; the V50 and the V60.

Not to belabor the point but the US is crowded with respect to the car market. Competition is stiff in every segment, and profit per unit is small by comparison to most countries. Car companies just can't seem to afford a lot of wiggle room.
Indeed. If you are big enough, you can afford to bring a model that you know will end up losing you money as a traffic generator and/or can afford to start diving into the niche segments, in the way Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been doing along with the newer arrival (Audi).
 

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Grecian - thanks for the effort in replying to my post, but based on what you have posted I'm not sure it changes my mind. Is Australia a more "wagon friendly" market than the US? Yes it probably is, but no where near as wagon friendly as say Europe. I think its a matter of degrees. We have seen over the last 10-15 years the same decline in wagon sales (across all car makes) as I suspect you have seen in the US as families have switched in large numbers to SUVs and people movers. Admittly probably not to the same degree as the US, but its still being there. One of our three local car manuafacturers (Ford Australia) even dropped the wagon version of its best selling sedan in favour of a locally built SUV. 10 years ago the biggest selling Volvo model was the V70. Over the years that has been displaced, first by the XC90, and now the XC60. Again I suspect very similar to the US. We even had a period of a couple of years at the end of the P2 V70 when it was withdrawn. It has only been revived in recent years with the current model V70 and with only a single engine option (T6 AWD).

However I do take the point made by ptpactrick and yourself about profit margin. In the US you sell your XC60/S60 for around say US$40,000. Here in Australia the same cars retail for AU$70-80,000. And our currency are (currently) on parity. Now while some of this additional cost is down to additional transport costs, import duties and various other Goverment taxes, it in no way accounts for almost doubling of the cost of the car. So yes you are most likely correct about the larger profit margins which allows the sales of a greater number of models and model variants.

Tony
 

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Sadly, I don't understand American attraction to SUV's and automatic transmissions. Neither of which I would ever buy, put the two together, gag. I would buy a V40 for my wife if it ever made it here with AWD and a MT, she's tiring of her Audi A3. But she's adamate her next car will be AWD again, and like me, she hates an automatic.
I'm not a BMW or Mercedes kind of guy, I identify with driving a Volvo, I've had 7. Volvo is a pretty conservative company, their cars are durable, safe and well engineered The 240 series was the epitomy of this philosophy. How many of those did Volvo sell? I've also learned you can push a Volvo way beyond what was initially envisioned by the engineers, because Volvo is conservatively engineered, I feel safe doing that. I've done it to more than one, all reliable and trouble free.
I can only hope the V40 makes it here.
 

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I can understand the desire for auto tran, but I refuse to believe people want SUVs. I think in every case people want functional good working cars filled with comfort and technologies of the present time.
To this day I am still convinced that SUVs have become so popular due to massive marketing efforts by car manufacturer to sell more and more expensive using the me too approach to socially sway people desire towards SUVs . . . It is not a new thing either!
It's just too bad that those who aren't phased by the marketing machine are left with nothing exiting. Oh well maybe the next trend will kickass . . . :p

. . . and by the way it is just a matter of time before the entire Asian market decides what US drivers will drive (it's already happening in many ways, styling being one of them). It is not a matter of power or economy. It's a simple matter of amount! Who knows what we'll be driving when we get there . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't know it's so hard for "enthusiast" to believe somebody would prefer a crossover or SUV to a standard wagon....or auto trannies...It has little to do with marketing....car makers would sell wagons here if they sold. 95% of drivers just want something safe, reliable, comfy, and gets them from one place to another. They could care less that wagons "handle" better, or seem more fun. They like that you sit higher up, and gasp, don't have to climb down to get in, or bend to load a car seat, or scrape bumpers on driveway entrances, or get high centered in snow, or don't transmit every bump...all while doing so with similar fuel economy to most wagons. And all the better if you don't sve shift. Bottom line is, bad rap aside, SUV/crossovers have their advantages, just like wagons do...but theirs seem to appeal more to an everyday driver.

I do think auto makers hastened to demise of wagons because of the Cafe game and their ability to call crossover, SUVs, and vans light trucks and thus get worse mileage...but I think that was just a part of the puzzle. Wagons were on the decline anyway. The crossovers of today bare little resemblance to their SUV predecessors, the Exlporer and Trailblazer and Bronco...They are actually quite versatile and comfortable and serve their needs well. Yes they are a compromise when it comes to handling, but a reasonable one. Just because you dont mind all those things I mentioned above...doesn't mean that the greater car buying public feels similar. Finally after years of crappy poor handling, top heavy SUV's....manufacturers seem to be getting closer and closer to that sweet spot of fun and utility that wagons enjoy with losing out on all the high riding characteristics... I for one dont think thats bad thing.
 

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I don't know what Volvo is doing, the V60 and V40 would sell well here, my V50 is 7 years old and still looks fresh and brand new. I guess I'll be keeping it for a while, my '82 242 has 250,000+ and still running strong, I have always owned a Volvo since age 17 ( First car,'67 122s) Sadly, there's no Volvo I will be replacing either of them with anytime soon.
BINGO...our '05 V50 T5 AWD is also approaching it's 7th OSD anniversary this month....if no V60 of possible V40....Volvo has nothing for me. I'm actively searching for possible alternatives as recent rumors of no more C30 or C70 (not that either is for us) indicate to me very little Volvo emphasis in the U.S. market with just the S60/S80 sedans and the 3 XC's of offer. Having only a 5 model line offering spells a "SAAB future" here in the U.S.
 

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as recent rumors of no more C30 or C70 (not that either is for us) indicate to me very little Volvo emphasis in the U.S. market with just the S60/S80 sedans and the 3 XC's of offer.
How can you say that? The core models for Volvo, in this country, have always been the XC cars and S60...that is where the emphasis is. The U.S. is one of the three most important global markets for Volvo.

Having only a 5 model line offering spells a "SAAB future" here in the U.S.
I would love to read your supporting evidence of such comparison and prediction. And SAAB never had 5 good models here.
 

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The S60 5 cylinder is specially made for the US market. Although I applaud the decision to offer a 5 cylinder instead of the 4 cylinder I don't understand why Volvo chose the 5 cylinder for the US market.
This model is sold as a sub premium entry model. Comparable to a T4 level Euro model. Why not offer the same 1.6T 4 cylinder as Europe?

Reading this forum I see many people say I want this and I want that but when it comes down to the money nobody wants to pay. What if a V60 T6 AWD was priced similar as in Europe? Somewhere 60K? No one would buy such a car. For the US price level there are plenty of models available. What about a 150 hp T3? or a T4 180 HP? Still interested? There's also a 240 HP "T5" 4 cylinder.

The T6 AWD is an extreme amount of car for the very little money US people are willing to pay.
 

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Cars and trucks (SUVs, crossovers) need to meet different CAFE regulations.
CAFE is US law that punishes car companies when the average fleet milage is below threshold.
This magic number is lower for SUVs. It is cheaper for car companies to sell SUV with the same milage than a car.

And thanks to current law that pushes MPG higher each year it will be easier to manufacture SUVs meeting the numbers than cars.

It will be harder and harder to buy wagons thanks to law not neccessarily the buyers preference.

Krzys
 

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The S60 5 cylinder is specially made for the US market. Although I applaud the decision to offer a 5 cylinder instead of the 4 cylinder I don't understand why Volvo chose the 5 cylinder for the US market.
This model is sold as a sub premium entry model. Comparable to a T4 level Euro model. Why not offer the same 1.6T 4 cylinder as Europe?
Because, the 1.6 does not have enough power for the average U.S. buyer and would be at the bottom of its competitive set here. Second, the European T5 engine is just too whiny and anemic at the top end for this market. It is a nice engine, overall, and I personally like it. However, it would to be good here. And it is nowhere in the same league as the upcoming 4-cyl engines that will be introduced some time next year. So, it was either this Or the 3.2...

Reading this forum I see many people say I want this and I want that but when it comes down to the money nobody wants to pay. What if a V60 T6 AWD was priced similar as in Europe? Somewhere 60K? No one would buy such a car. For the US price level there are plenty of models available. What about a 150 hp T3? or a T4 180 HP? Still interested? There's also a 240 HP "T5" 4 cylinder.

The T6 AWD is an extreme amount of car for the very little money US people are willing to pay.
Johan, you are right on the money. We could have brought a V60 T6 here and it would have been priced a lot cheaper than in Europe; it would have failed spectacularly for the reasons you mentioned.

The current Euro T5 is not up to snuff for here. Next year, the VEA version will be tons better than this.

There is a reason why the American market is the toughest one in the world; people demand the best engines/options for the lowest price....
 

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There is a reason why the American market is the toughest one in the world; people demand the best engines/options for the lowest price....
Really?

People don't want the same bang for their buck in other nations & continents? Where every car option and engine option hits you deeper because of the 20+% VAT on cars and the annual registration which factors in the engine. Every included amenity & feature there is a bonus over the competition, just like it is here.

At the most you could say that Europeans for instance are more open to smaller engines than Americans, because of fuel economy & fuel prices and engine related taxes; which has caused a lot of advancement in engine technology.

I would consider Europe a far more difficult market. In America pretty much everybody needs a car. The average American family has what? 2-3 cars. It is a necessity because other transportation options etc are marginal. As opposed to Europe where the average family probably has 1 car.

Car credit is a lot easier in the US. Europeans hold on to their cars longer. Typically buy new till replaced with another new car. Based on that alone the US is a lot easier market because there are a heck of a lot more cars/capita and car sales.

The difficulty here for the Euro brands, it is that there is only a fraction of the brand's range, unfavorable currency conversion and import tariffs etc.
 

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GrecianVolvo
First- this is purely my opinion...no "proof" necessary or required on a discussion forum but it's quite clear Volvo offers a much
broader product line in European markets; one that is much more aligned with my preferences a V40, a V60 or V70 or another v50 would suite me just fine

I am concerned about Volvo's future here with only 5 products.
 

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Really?

People don't want the same bang for their buck in other nations & continents? Where every car option and engine option hits you deeper because of the 20+% VAT on cars and the annual registration which factors in the engine. Every included amenity & feature there is a bonus over the competition, just like it is here.

At the most you could say that Europeans for instance are more open to smaller engines than Americans, because of fuel economy & fuel prices and engine related taxes; which has caused a lot of advancement in engine technology.

I would consider Europe a far more difficult market. In America pretty much everybody needs a car. The average American family has what? 2-3 cars. It is a necessity because other transportation options etc are marginal. As opposed to Europe where the average family probably has 1 car.

Car credit is a lot easier in the US. Europeans hold on to their cars longer. Typically buy new till replaced with another new car. Based on that alone the US is a lot easier market because there are a heck of a lot more cars/capita and car sales.

The difficulty here for the Euro brands, it is that there is only a fraction of the brand's range, unfavorable currency conversion and import tariffs etc.
Absolutely the toughest market in the world. 80% of the engines and models offered outside the U.S. would fail miserably if brought here.

There far more dealers per capita in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world hence the stiff competition. The American consumer is very demanding and expects very well equipped cars for less, with varying degress depending on how expensive the car is.

The currency situation further erodes profits made (usually Euro brands but Japanese also suffer from similar fate albeit to a lesser extent) thus putting pressure on the brands and discouraging many more from coming back or attempting to launch here.
 
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