Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Volvo Coming

Over the weekend....Volvo finally put out an announcement.....they will build a plant in the US...their first plant to manufacture Volvo cars.

Rumor has it that North Carolina is one of the states, with at least two additional states involved in negotiation right now.

Most Americans have zero knowledge over Volvo and probably would never buy the car.

From the historical prospective.....there are three eras of Volvo.

The first era, from 1927 to the early 1970s.....was the Swedish era (my term).  They were a Swedish company and built cars for sale primarily within the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland).  What you can typically say was that it was an engineer's car....built a decade ahead of most technology that you saw with the automobile industry.  They weren't booming....but they were making a fair profit.

In the early 1970s.....the second era came.....where Volvo branched out into Europe and the US.  What made their cars better than everyone's cars was the safety factor.  They put every possible safety option known at the time into the standard Volvo cars.  The legend was.....if you got into a Volvo and had an survived.

The problem with the second era Volvo cars was that they were "plain" and expensive.  You paid twenty to thirty percent more for a Swedish-made Volvo.  There wasn't any sports-car version, and no one under the age of thirty would buy a Volvo.

Chinese investors came after 2008 and bought the company.....they were in serious jeopardy at the time like several major car companies. Thus....we enter the third era....where the company survives but with Chinese ownership.

If you sat down and listed the forty top safety items that could be put into a'd discover that Volvo tends to have every single item in the standard car (it's not optional in their mind).  Between that and the Swedish manufacturing costs.....that's the primary reason why Volvo cars cost so much in the US.

Would a US plant change the perception and the cost?  I imagine that they've figured the formula and might be able to find a model or two that fits into the prospective of an American buyer.....for the right price.  It's an enticement to get you....the buyer....into a Volvo franchise and get you to first base to buy your first Volvo.  Maybe ten years down the you get ready for a replacement'd want to spend the extra $15,000 and buy the typical $45,000 Volvo SUV or four-door car.

I've never owned a Volvo....but I've ridden in a couple.  It's like a plain sports-car version of a Lincoln Towncar.  The ride is perfect....the style is professional....the horsepower is there, and you find no flaws.

I'll take a while and most Americans will just ask where the heck it's made.  But after a brief ride from a dealer's might start crunching the numbers and realize that the safety factor in the Volvo adds $100,000 onto the value of the car.  Maybe it'll help you survive an accident....which is something that you typically don't think about with the Mustang or Dodge Charger.

Anyway....Volvo is a name you might hear more often now.