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For the past two decades many of us have witnessed the changes in Volvo as a car company. From being a part of the Volvo truck and car company to being owned by Ford and now it's ownership by China. Over time the one thing we can all agree on is that Volvo has always brought us very cool cars beautifully engineered to be the the safest car on the planet. However, the one thing Volvo has never done well is to market the cars in way that maximized sales in the US. Still we lived with their short-comings and made the brand work.

Today we wake up to see the president of Volvo has left, a member of the board of directors has replaced him and on we go in a new direction which of course everyone claims will be executed as Jacoby had planned. Prior to this change we all had a chance to read the article from Reuters dated 10/02/2012: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-volvocar-conflict-idUSBRE89105O20121002 and now:http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/volvo-cars-idUSL5E8LJ23H20121019.

One illustrates the inner conflict that may have driven Jacoby to a health crisis and the other details his removal and now a transition to a new president.

If you read these articles what you see is a company hoping to change quickly enough to adapt to a very rapidly changing landscape in the auto industry. You also see how much conflict there is with this marriage between the Chinese owners and the Swedish board. What you don't hear is what they intend to do for the US market which is one of Volvo's largest markets. Rather what you hear is a focus on China and Europe.

My question is will these changes in Volvo's focus allow it to survive the next two years in the US market where it is beginning to experience a serious slowdown in sales? Others of you have suggested that selling only two models (S60 and XC60) for the next two years may not be enough to keep it in the market, especially given that the cars don't have competitive leases and are not competitively priced with sufficient low financing. I agree. The challenge is more than any one company can meet in the very rapidly and intensely competitive automotive market here in the US and worldwide.

My contention is that it seems very likely Volvo will gradually exit the US market simply because it has worldwide challenges that cannot be addressed in addition to what exists in the US. My sense is that despite what so many of you Volvo geeks talk about in terms of future models, without a serious focus on the US market, all of this talk is just that, talk.

It's clear that Volvo can't make small cars and be competitive with them in the US. Keep in mind, moving forward the cars that remain the mix are the S60 (now beginning to look tired, and definitely not competitive in the lease portion of the market); the XC60 of which the same can be said; the S80 which is rapidly declining in sales in the US; the very tired XC90 which is totally non-competitive in the segment in which it lies (whether it be features, fuel economy and most assuredly leasing); the XC70 which is also slowing in sales (and non-competitive in the leasing arena) and don't forget the C70 now in its last year (sales slowing too) and we all know the S40, V50 and now the C30 are gone.

My contention is that Volvo is very much a questionable, survivable brand in the US given where their focus is now. Is it possible and even very likely that Volvo will go the way of Kodak? Are we witnessing a Kodak moment as this brand struggles to focus? Are their too many cooks in the kitchen? The Chinese, the Swedes and last of all the US? Who will win? Who will survive? No one knows for us, but it saddens many of us who have supported the brand over the years. In the end, there are many days when it seems this brands' worst enemy is the company itself.
 

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Thanks for sharing your point of view. It's clear to me that Volvo needs to make some very big changes even if I don't know what they are. I I've always been a Volvo enthusiast and have owned five over my lifetime. Yet, when I went out three weeks ago to buy a new car I came home with a 2013 Audi S4. I felt like I was betraying the Volvo for Life slogan but I'm just so damn unimpressed with their current line of cars. I loved and even lusted after my 2006 S60R. It was such an awesome car it completely redefined my expectations for Volvo. Unfortunately, their current line of cars does not live up to my new expectations. I hate to admit that you might be right in questioning their future in the US market. If I am at all a representation of the modern us consumer, I have to agree. I'm not sure where Volvo went wrong, but looking at their current lineup, I'm sure they did.
 

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I would interested in a representative from Volvo comments regarding these recent posts.............
 

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I just bought a Volvo C30 several weeks ago and its been the best car I've ever owned.

However, that won't keep me from flying like a bat out of hell to Carmax [to sell] the day they pull out of the US.
 

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I don't totally disagree with you but for Volvo to exit the US market things would have to be pretty dire indeed for the company. It would pretty much be tantamount to raising the white flag that a near luxury brand can't make it in the largest, most affluent market it sells in. I think Volvo can limp along for a couple more years in the US with its current line-up until the new XC90 and S80 get here. I would not call the S60 tired at this point, just finishing it's second year and I read that a refresh is planned for '14. It would be great if they could bring the XC40 to this country but it just may not pencil out.
 

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I cannot speak for or represent Volvo Car Corporation...but what I can tell you is that Volvo Car Finance is re-emerging in the next 4-6 weeks and that is certainly a sign of Volvo's commitment to a long term presence in the US market. Leases should become more competitive and new models are definitely on the horizon. Volvo is a small automaker...and change does not occur rapidly. Also keep in mind that the new owners are committed to the Asian market, which has a much bigger growth potential than the US market does. Growth in the Asian market will produce a stronger company in the long run, and one that will be able to offer wider model variety and better pricing.
33 yrs in this business has taught me to focus on the bigger picture and not to get discouraged or misread the day to day roller coaster ride of corporate activities. Volvo, IMHO, is not leaving the US market...so I personally see no need to over-react to a change of CEO. Now if they remove the OSD program...I would be very upset :)
 

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I think it's important to realize that the current models already have a foot in the grave. Volvo is trying to optimize it's profits and hold on tight while it prepares for the launch of SPA. SPA is the future.

These cars will practically drive themselves at speeds of up to 31mph. They will all be available with very competitive EPA gas mileage estimates and ultra low emission 3- and 4-cylinder engines. They will (potentially) introduce the consumer auto market to a kenetic energy recovery system which will produce high-end hybrid fuel economy without the high expense of a Hybrid drivetrain. Gas-electric hybrid engines may be available which, in combination with the KERS flywheel, produce a combination of straight line performance and fuel economy at levels previously unthought of.

Right now Volvo is doing the best they can with what they have while they prepare to unleash the future platform on the world. They entire model lineup will be refreshed within a few years and everything will be much, much different and much, much better.
 

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The Buzz I hear is the cars are going much more upscale. Think MB pricing levels. They will pull out of the 30-40k pricing level. This will take the next 6 years or so though. BTW this is for the US market.. who knows what it will be in the rest of the world.
 

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For the past two decades many of us have witnessed the changes in Volvo as a car company. From being a part of the Volvo truck and car company to being owned by Ford and now it's ownership by China. Over time the one thing we can all agree on is that Volvo has always brought us very cool cars beautifully engineered to be the the safest car on the planet. However, the one thing Volvo has never done well is to market the cars in way that maximized sales in the US. Still we lived with their short-comings and made the brand work.

Today we wake up to see the president of Volvo has left, a member of the board of directors has replaced him and on we go in a new direction which of course everyone claims will be executed as Jacoby had planned. Prior to this change we all had a chance to read the article from Reuters dated 10/02/2012: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-volvocar-conflict-idUSBRE89105O20121002 and now:http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/19/volvo-cars-idUSL5E8LJ23H20121019.

One illustrates the inner conflict that may have driven Jacoby to a health crisis and the other details his removal and now a transition to a new president.

If you read these articles what you see is a company hoping to change quickly enough to adapt to a very rapidly changing landscape in the auto industry. You also see how much conflict there is with this marriage between the Chinese owners and the Swedish board. What you don't hear is what they intend to do for the US market which is one of Volvo's largest markets. Rather what you hear is a focus on China and Europe.

My question is will these changes in Volvo's focus allow it to survive the next two years in the US market where it is beginning to experience a serious slowdown in sales? Others of you have suggested that selling only two models (S60 and XC60) for the next two years may not be enough to keep it in the market, especially given that the cars don't have competitive leases and are not competitively priced with sufficient low financing. I agree. The challenge is more than any one company can meet in the very rapidly and intensely competitive automotive market here in the US and worldwide.

My contention is that it seems very likely Volvo will gradually exit the US market simply because it has worldwide challenges that cannot be addressed in addition to what exists in the US. My sense is that despite what so many of you Volvo geeks talk about in terms of future models, without a serious focus on the US market, all of this talk is just that, talk.

It's clear that Volvo can't make small cars and be competitive with them in the US. Keep in mind, moving forward the cars that remain the mix are the S60 (now beginning to look tired, and definitely not competitive in the lease portion of the market); the XC60 of which the same can be said; the S80 which is rapidly declining in sales in the US; the very tired XC90 which is totally non-competitive in the segment in which it lies (whether it be features, fuel economy and most assuredly leasing); the XC70 which is also slowing in sales (and non-competitive in the leasing arena) and don't forget the C70 now in its last year (sales slowing too) and we all know the S40, V50 and now the C30 are gone.

My contention is that Volvo is very much a questionable, survivable brand in the US given where their focus is now. Is it possible and even very likely that Volvo will go the way of Kodak? Are we witnessing a Kodak moment as this brand struggles to focus? Are their too many cooks in the kitchen? The Chinese, the Swedes and last of all the US? Who will win? Who will survive? No one knows for us, but it saddens many of us who have supported the brand over the years. In the end, there are many days when it seems this brands' worst enemy is the company itself.
I worked at a Volvo dealer in the late '80s. Back then, people seemed to buy them for reliability and longevity (a good 1/3 of our service coustomers had over 200K miles on their Volvos). I saw an alarming trend develop while working at the Volvo dealership; the Japanese started making cars with reliability and longevity at a lower price point than Volvo.

I will give you a case in point. My family has had a total of 5 Hondas. My last one was a 4 cylinder Accord with 340,000 miles on it when I got rid of it. I would probably still be driving an Accord if I didn't need a station wagon for my 110 pound dog.
 

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The Buzz I hear is the cars are going much more upscale. Think MB pricing levels. They will pull out of the 30-40k pricing level. This will take the next 6 years or so though. BTW this is for the US market.. who knows what it will be in the rest of the world.
This is what I'm expecting, with AMG-like offerings from polestar.
 

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As someone new to Volvo and an owner of a brand that did leave the US a few years ago (Isuzu) I dont see Volvo leaving any time soon. When Isuzu left it was because GM all but killed off the brand. They kept cutting back their models and the last 4 years all Isuzu had to offer was rebadged GMs. So when GM sold them off they had nothing to offer or even in the planning stages. Ford didnt do that with Volvo, they still had their own vehicles to sell. With small vehicles being popular/needed in much of the Asian and European countries hopefully Volvo comes out with more smallish models since the v50/s40/c30 line has been killed off. Not everyone wants a large car or expensive luxury.
 

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The problem is that smaller brands often don't have the resources for product development and marketing the way larger ones do. I worry about how dealers survive on such small car sales. If the public perception becomes that Volvo is more curiosity than main stream, then people will avoid the brand. I happen to think my 2012 S60 is a fantastic car and the best one I've ever owned. Its a shame they're not flying off the lots.
 

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The problem is that smaller brands often don't have the resources for product development and marketing the way larger ones do.
This is true. My hope is that Geely has alleviated this by shelling out some cold hard cash for their new adopted child, and from observations that seems possible.
 

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For the past two decades many of us have witnessed the changes in Volvo as a car company. From being a part of the Volvo truck and car company to being owned by Ford and now it's ownership by China. Over time the one thing we can all agree on is that Volvo has always brought us very cool cars beautifully engineered to be the the safest car on the planet. However, the one thing Volvo has never done well is to market the cars in way that maximized sales in the US. Still we lived with their short-comings and made the brand work. .
Um not quite. In the 1980s, Volvo was the pioneer of safety, following by the more premium and luxury line of safety offered by MB. No other brand like Volvo (okay, Saab as well since they too worked on the safety cage, seat belts et al but perhaps to remain competitive with Volvo and existing SAAB owners) has as many safety systems on board, also helped along by separate countries safety teams and insurance groups that generated data to support the safety and "low" premium rate insurance pay outs if the cars crashed. Volvo was only sold to Ford in 1999, 13 years ago and one has to remember the changing lifestyles - the U.S was the largest market share for Volvo's larger 200, 700 and 900 wagons. I believe they were marketed quite well to secure top sales prior to the current products produced in tandem with Ford.

The U.S is no longer a stable manufacturing base for small companies like Volvo to build a factory for all of their ranges entirely. Not without a partner to share the cost. Fair enough for Honda, Hyundai, Kia et al, these companies are far larger with subsidiaries and fingers in other brands worldwide. Volvo are concentrating on China and Europe, because that's where there's money to be made in the short fall - the U.S like their larger cars but Volvo can sustain both with smaller products now made to compete on a more, level playing field. Just because Volvo's largest market appears to be the U.S doesn't necessarily mean Volvo have to continue to concentrate in that one country. Clearly they are trying to replace ranges and models within financial constraints. Rather than making up your mind about what Volvo has done currently in the U.S and basing your opinion on current evidence, be prepared to wait -and the current S60 is hardly "tired," since it was only launched in 2010...
 

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The "commentary" on Volvo is elementary but at least Volvo is in the best position out of the three they've named (and interestingly enough between the time the article was written and now Suzuki has pulled out of the American market). I'm not so sure Volvo will pull out of the US market until we start hearing about large financial losses. I'm not sure what sort of financial state the company is in right now, especially with it's backing from Geely, but considering their future plans it's probably going to take at least a couple of years of huge financial hits, after they introduce new vehicles, before they abandon this market.

As a side note, they mention that Volvo competes with the lower end of the Germans and Lexus but then ding them for having the C30 priced too close to the 128i. $6K cheaper isn't very close at all, especially at this price point. If they're going to knock the C30 they need to do it on more substantive grounds rather than the appearance of sticker price in comparison to the 128i. The C30 is definitely overpriced (and has a terrible interior) but the 128i is also arguably overpriced and it's interior isn't very good either. I find it hard to take the article seriously to be honest.
 

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Suzuki was bankrupt in the US. I don't believe that's the case for Volvo.
 
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