Currently reading: Volvo 'won't copy the Germans'
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

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highland tourer 2 November 2010

Re: Volvo 'won't copy the Germans'

Autocar wrote:
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.

This is the second comment so far this week from the Volvo CEO, however I would be very interested to hear what the Chinese owners of Volvo are thinking about. Currently the Chinese car market is becoming increasingly powerful and the Chinese are seeking large luxury motors. Whilst I appreciate Volvos CEO suggesting that the company have lost their direction over the last few years, it will be interesting to see over the next few years whether Volvo can be profitable as a luxury but accessible Scandinavian product, or whether they will become lost attempting to establish their identity. Personally I was quite impressed in some of the Peter Horsbury designs with the wide shouldered styling from around 10-15 years ago, but now a lot of the Volvos are looking bloated and generic.

Volvo really have to sort out their range. Currently they have the impractical c30 (no 5 door option), the s40/v50, which are pricey and don't offer much to the market that numerous other manufacturers do (especially as they are in essence a focus saloon/estate), the v70 which is looking tired and in need of a revamp, the s80 which is hardly much larger and their two off roaders which are in need of an update.

Volvo could do with a smaller entry model (supermini) to attract new buyers into Volvo - the c30 is too compromised and pricey for essentially a small impractical a3 size hatch. If they are aiming themselves as a family car maker, they could produce a small (Golf size) 5 door hatch (this could stand alongside the the s40/v50), make a smaller soft roader (based on their small hatch), introduce a lifestyle hatch (similar to the Audi a7) to sit alongside their mid-range saloon and estate, possibly look at a mpv (the safety first, sensible and comfortable aspects of Volvo's image would excel in this market).

stewa 2 November 2010

Re: Volvo 'won't copy the Germans'

redline7000 wrote:

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.

I completely agree, horrible "look at me" styling, overpriced road jewellery. I do hope Volvo do something alternative. When you think of popular Volvos of the past like the 740/940 they were certainly great cars, people bought them because it wasn't like a German car.

rhw0104 2 November 2010

Re: Volvo 'won't copy the Germans'

I think they are right that they shouldnt copy the germans as they charging german prices and trying to copy german then why would anyone buy a volvo over a BMW?

Would be nice for volvo to start making elegent luxuary and sporty cars. get away from the boxes on wheels look.