Volvo: The future of Volvo

Although still suffering from the long-term downturn in European and American market, Volvo Cars has began to straighten up since its ownership was hold by the Chinese company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. As Volvo points out that although it is not expected that sales gain becomes as big in the years to come, China will still play an increasing part in the future of Volvo. So it is shown that Volvo’s expectations and ambitions on the increasing Chinese market so as to awake itself to the more competitive world as soon as possible.

(Reuters) – Safe, solid and understated in a Swedish way, or a wannabe luxury brand pandering to a Chinese taste for excess and ‘bling’: that’s the debate causing ripples at the top of Volvo Car Corp, under Chinese ownership since 2010.  (Shirouzu, 2013)

This is a culture clash between Volvo’s European management and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which may have broader implications. If Geely persists in refocusing Volvo in Chinese premium market, it will reveal the ambitions with global markets from the Chinese ownership, as well as other Chinese firms.

01-Volvo-Concept-Coupe-01

Volvo Concept Coupe, 2013

This potential route not only affects the long-term financial behavior of Volvo Cars, but also gives tremendous impacts on the design proposal of Volvo’s cars. The Volvo Concept Coupe, to be unveiled later at the Frankfurt auto show, is a sign that Geely wants to shed Volvo’s sober image and grow sales significantly – by taking on established luxury brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. To get to such a target, Li, the chairman of both Geely and Volvo Cars, wants the Swedish car maker to come up with a large premium sedan aimed at China’s newly wealthy people, to compete with the German luxury cars, such as Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series. As a result, the Volvo design group has been trying to renew the design characteristics from Volvo’s traditional car history and apply them into the future design features for new, elegant and luxury Volvo cars, such as the shoulder line of Volvo Concept Coupe in 2013 compared with that one of  Volvo P1800 in 1960.

More than the changes in design plan and market proposal for Volvo Cars, the engineering department also are making efforts to reinforce the Volvo’s statement – “Safety is a founding principle and living philosophy since 1927”. Based on the traditional advantages in safety engineering technology, besides the autonomous car project “Drive Me”, Volvo points out a goal that is divided into six different parts and ready to show off its next wave of safety innovations – “By 2020, our aim is that nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo” (Volvocars.com, n.d.).  All these will give Volvo a clear and feasible future strategy around the keyword “safety” on the basis of the advanced technological development and higher customers’ needs or requirements.

In summary, Volvo Cars has benefited a lot from its new Chinese owner Geely and began to pay more attention on the new Chinese market to stimulate its financial progress. Meantime, Volvo attempts to revival its significant market status by a luxury oriented design and production strategy on the basis of creating new and free driving style on new autonomous driving assistance. In this way, Volvo actually is running in a correct direction, that is to adopt its good points and avoid its shortcomings. In my opinion, Volvo should have a bright future in the fierce competition for huge car manufacturers.

Bibliography:

Volvocars.com. n.d. Safety at Volvo Cars. [online] Available at: http://www.volvocars.com/intl/top/corporate/safety/pages/default.aspx [Accessed: 12 Dec 2013].

Kurylko, D. 2013. Volvo stand-alone avoids red ink, builds for future. [online] Available at: http://www.autonews.com/article/20131028/RETAIL07/310289996/volvo-stand-alone-avoids-red-ink-builds-for-future#axzz2rLsI5nbh [Accessed: 15 Jan 2014].

Rong, B. 2013. The future of Volvo – Autoweek. [online] Available at: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20131230/carnews/131219964 [Accessed: 15 Jan 2014].

Shirouzu, N. 2013. Exclusive: Geely, Volvo differ over future China look. [online] Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/10/us-autoshow-frankfurt-volvo-geely-idUSBRE98905520130910 [Accessed: 15 Jan 2014].

Young, A. 2013. Volvo: Fully Electric Cars Are A Niche Market. [online] Available at: http://www.ibtimes.com/volvo-believes-electric-assist-small-engine-vehicles-are-future-while-fully-electric-cars-are-niche [Accessed: 15 Jan 2014].

Williams, C. 2013. A look at Volvo’s durable past and future. [online] Available at: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-04/classified/sc-cons-1003-autocover-volvo-20131004_1_volvo-cars-1966-volvo-irv-gordon [Accessed: 15 Jan 2014].

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