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<B>Volvo Speeds up Image, Products<BR>PRAGUE, Czech Republic, June 25</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Volvo Car Corp. plans to introduce five new models over the next five years. The aggressive launch program is core to the Swedish carmaker's strategy of increasing global sales from 430,000 to 600,000 units a year. That will also mean chasing new customer groups in new segments, President and CEO Hans-Olov Olsson told the Automotive News Europe Congress in Prague on the afternoon of June 25.<P>Volvo's first new model will join its existing V70 Cross Country in the burgeoning "sports activity" segment. Due next year, the model will be based on the Adventure Concept Car first seen at the Detroit Auto Show in January. "We are changing fast," Olsson told Congress delegates. "Volvo entered the 1990s in a box. We were reliable, safe and practical -- but no one complimented us for our design or driving pleasure. "We have completely changed our model lineup," he said, "and while we are still safe, reliable and practical, our cars are now stylish and fun to drive."<P>Olsson took over as president and CEO last year and quickly launched his "Revolvolution"<BR>initiative. "That's not just a catchy phrase," he said. "It is something that touches everybody and everything at Volvo Car Corp. -- and the agenda is short and demanding." That agenda, he said, included customer satisfaction, profitable growth, a new generation of premium cars, and a new generation of premium leaders and employees. It also encompasses the purchasing process, cost structure, shorter lead times and refined distribution. "We have to be faster, better and smarter," said Olsson. "Developing cars now is like a 100-meter sprint. Timing is essential and those who miss a step or stumble will be left behind." He added: "We have to move faster with our introductions, we have to be better in everything we do, and we have to be smarter in the way we attract new customers."<BR> <BR>As an example, Olsson cited the way Volvo is using the Internet to involve customers in the development process. A website called Concept Lab Volvo gives customers the opportunity to inject new ideas and e-mail their viewpoints direct to key people in the organization. "Customer satisfaction and service is vital," said Olsson. "Everyone expects something from us and we have to exceed their expectations. Premium is not the same as luxury. It lies in the eye of the beholder. It is our customers who decide that we are a premium brand by the cars they are offered and the service they are given." Volvo is part of Premier Automotive Group, Ford Motor Co.'s collection of luxury brands that also includes Aston Martin, Land Rover, Jaguar and Lincoln.<P>"Revolvolution," Olsson said, would also see changes in production with a reduction in suppliers from 375 to 175 at final assembly. But closer and more long-term relationships will be established with those remaining suppliers, he said. "They will play a key role as we continue to improve quality." Olsson said he was disappointed to see Volvo slipping in recent J.D. Power surveys but stressed the whole organization was geared to moving the company back up the quality order.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B>New Products 2002-2006</B><BR>2002 - New SUV, S60R<BR>2003 - 2nd Gen C40/S40/V50, Revised S80<BR>2004 - H30<BR>2005 - Unknown<BR>2006 - Unknown
 

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Nice to see there are no immediate plans to revamps the new V70/T5/XC. One of the (many)reasons I got the 2001 was that I'd have the most current body style longer... useful for resale if the need arises.<P>I was told Volvo typically holds onto a general design for 7 or so years... let's see if that holds up with the new direction Volvo is taking <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com/ubb/smile.gif">
 

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It'll be interesting to see how Volvo blends in with the Ford corporate platform structure. The current platform, playing host to the S80, V70 and S60 is so good that Ford has considered using it for the next generation Taurus. However, the new Mondeo platform is also quite good from what I hear. It'll be interesting to see which way they go with this, and eventually how they merge them without diluting Volvo's safety standards.
 
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