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<B>Source:</B><BR><I>Auto.Com<BR>Bloomberg<BR>By: Brian Lysaght<BR>August 22, 2002</I><P><B>Volvo Counting On New SUV</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>GENEVA, Switzerland -- Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo Cars unit is counting on its first sport-utility vehicle, a $40,000 model called the XC90, to halt the Goteborg, Sweden-based company's declining U.S. sales. <P>"In the U.S., customers have been leaving us because we don't have a sport-utility, and some people don't come into our showrooms because we don't have one," said Hans Wikman, director of XC90 development, in a phone interview. <P>Volvo's sales fell 17 percent this year through July in the United States, its biggest market. The XC90 is to go on sale in October, and the company aims to sell 50,000 annually, including 35,000 in North America. <P>The Volvo sport-utility, developed at a cost of $500 million, has seven seats, an all-wheel-drive system, and is designed for road driving. It's powered by turbocharged six-cylinder, 2.9-liter and five-cylinder, 2.5-liter gasoline engines.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>-Drew
 

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I would wish them well in all this. But, Volvo needs to do a couple of things, having very little to do with the product. Firstly, they need to start picking up the tab for scheduled maint., as does Audi, BMW, MB, etc, if they expect to compete in that market. Secondly, they need to somehow, bring down the out of warr. maint costs. Admitedly, my frame of reference on this is somewhat old. My last Volvo was an 85 740 TDI, which was a good car but expensive to maintain; much more so than the MB's I've had since. I don't think these are expensive things to do. Mercedes didn't seem to raise the prices, signifigantly, when they adopted the program, and Audi has had it for years.<BR>From and egineering perspective, I would wish they would give a little more rear wheel bias to the Haldex unit. Again this shouldn't be rocket science, Audi and Subaru have done it for a long time. It tends to make the vehicle feel more nimble. This is just my 2 cents worth. All this being said, I think Volvo has a hit on their hands, and I can't wait to drive one. <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com/ubb/biggrin.gif"><P>
 

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A rear bias would be cool, but to the best of my knowledge, neither Audi nor Subaru have done this. I can't speak for Scooby, but Audi has used a Torsen system up until recently with the TT, which is a mechanical system that cannot be "programmed". The TT has Haldex, so in theory they could have done it there... I just don't remember reading anything about that.
 

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Volvo needs a huge wake-up call because their collective heads are burried in the sand.<P>I agree, they need to have:<P>1. 4/48k Years/Miles of Free Scheduled Maintenance Program<BR>2. Have much better advertising. Volvo ads IMHO totally lack the 'cool' factor. They pretty much suck IMHO.<BR>3. Get their ARSE in gear, where the he#& are the HID Xenon lights for North America? This sickens me to no end! This technology was out 12 years ago damnit! <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com/ubb/mad.gif"> <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com/ubb/mad.gif"> <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com/ubb/mad.gif"><P>Sorry, end of my rant...<P>-Drew
 

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Maybe they should do some TV spots using the Volvo For Life motto, showing someone doing one of the other aspects of the for life campaign, enjoying life or having long life...<P>Camera and music fade in to a guy driving his V70 T-5 down a country road, enjoying the drive, not a car in sight, not a care in the world (typical car commercial), and then in the end another car blows through a stop sign at the intersection and T-bones him with a loud and attention grabbing CRASH. Flash screen of Volvo logo and Volvo for Life slogan and then flash back to the guy getting out of the car saying "I'm okay, I'm okay".<P>Do a couple spots like that, a mom in the XC90, an old guy in his 240, Rickard Rydell in his S60 Touring Car, but all ending by getting hit by another car with a loud attention grabbing shriek of tires and crash. <P>There may be liability issues there, but it sure would send the point home on safety.
 
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