New Volvo CEO says the firm must stop copying the Germans and insstead redefine the brand

Volvo needs to redefine its brand, “stop copying the Germans” and more than double sales to 800,000 by 2020, the firm’s new CEO has revealed.

Stefan Jacoby, who took up his new post in August, told Autocar that Volvo needs to “focus on luxury” and “has lost its distinguishing points in its products”.

Read the full story on Volvo axeing its 7-series rival

The ex-VW USA chief said: “You can immediately recognise you’re sitting in a BMW or an Audi and I don’t think Volvo is there yet. Volvo at the moment is not sharp enough or in harmony with what the brand stands for. It needs to return to its Swedish roots — not so much sporty but more functional with Swedish and Scandinavian elegance.”

Volvo will spend the next six months putting together a strategy to expand in both established markets and emerging regions such as China.

The company is also rethinking its platform strategy. “We’re questioning this,” he said. “We may come down to two or even one platform.”

Read more on Volvo's product push, including a Golf rival

On styling, Jacoby said: “Simplicity is the key. We need to stop copying the Germans. We should express what Scandinavia stands for: high values for human beings, strong social security and welfare. We don’t have to be the same size or have the same package.”

Jacoby considers engines a “core competence”. A new modular family of petrols and diesels is on the way. V8s will be dropped and even six-cylinder units could go, in favour of four-pots and perhaps five-cylinder units. EVs and hybrids will be a “major pillar” of its future, hence the 1000 C30 EVs trialling shortly and V70 plug-in hybrid for 2012.

Richard Bremner

See all the latest Volvo reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Comments
14

2 November 2010

Great to see Volvo are trying to focus themselves. The latest S60 tried to be German I think, and despite the similarities in styling, isn't as quirky or Scandinavian as its concept predecessor from a couple of years ago; that was truly Volvo. Hopefully we'll start seeing the results of this re-focusing plan soon!

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

2 November 2010

So going back to how they were when Ford bought them (and they were profitable)

At that time they had the modular engines that spawned the 4 cylinders in the S/V40, the 5 Cylinders in the 850/S/C/V70 and the 6 Cylinder in the S80/XC90 (which originated in the 960), and 2 platforms that gave the small car, and S60/S80/V70/XC70/XC90 size cars.

What goes around comes around...

2 November 2010

I'm sorry, but there isn't such a thing as 'being German'. There is 'the way the Germans build cars' thing. Nothing wrong with that. Everybody loves German cars - even a lot of Brits.

I don't think the problem lies with the Germans, the problem lies in the design philosophy. Get one! Make sure ppl like it. Stick to it. If it happens to 'look German', it only means you've done it right.

2 November 2010

[quote Giom37]I'm sorry, but there isn't such a thing as 'being German'. There is 'the way the Germans build cars' thing. Nothing wrong with that. Everybody loves German cars - even a lot of Brits[/quote]

Sorry , I certainly don't love German cars , I totally detest the vile Teutonic devices . I find them ugly , with very poor ergonomics and full of childish gadgets (e.g. stupid flashing led's on the door buttons) . . . . and then there is the rip off price they charge for them , and the even bigger rip off service and repair costs (£900 for a door mirror for an A3) and how Audi Quattro's devour tyres . . but you never hear their propagandists mention anything about that .

Best of luck to Volvo anyway , I hope they have great success in the future with thier new models.

2 November 2010

I certainly do not love German cars, and bought a Volvo V70 because I thought it was better for my needs. If more people analysed there needs and looked around at different manufacturers maybe we could get away from this 'must buy German mentality'.

2 November 2010

[quote redline7000]with very poor ergonomics[/quote]Oh dear. well, i don't know what german cars you've been in, but ergonomically, they're on a par with Saab and Volvo. If you don't believe me, get in any modern german car with a blindfold. you will be able to start the car and find all controls naturally, without any fumbling around. Whether you like it or not, the germans do things very very well indeed, why else would every other manufacturer try and either emulate them or beat them??!!!

jer

2 November 2010

Ah but remember the ghost of Rover's past.

Even pensioners seem to want sporty.

jer

2 November 2010

[quote il sole]ergonomically[/quote]

Does the ergonomic debate still have any resonance? all new cars you get used to the ergnomics there are no more howlers where you cannot see the speedo for the steering wheel. Look at the new Civic and that's bought by oldies...

Somethimes I think it's journalists that cannot grasp technology in the day or 2 they have to review the car. I enjoyed learning even the original I-DRIVE. It was part of the joy of new ownership.

Footnote : I'd say there is a market for a comfort, Sweedish Volvo. But it will need to be rear wheel drive then you can make it softer whilst still feeling balanced.

2 November 2010

[quote Autocar]has lost its distinguishing points in its products[/quote]

In my day (young man) Volvos, above all else, were known for safety and solidity.

2 November 2010

[quote redline7000]Sorry , I certainly don't love German cars , I totally detest the vile Teutonic devices . I find them ugly , with very poor ergonomics and full of childish gadgets (e.g. stupid flashing led's on the door buttons) . . . . and then there is the rip off price they charge for them , and the even bigger rip off service and repair costs (£900 for a door mirror for an A3) and how Audi Quattro's devour tyres . . but you never hear their propagandists mention anything about that .[/quote]

Thankfully my freind you are a minority...

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run