Swedish firm showcasing services and technology, rather than new models, at the Automobility LA event
James Attwood, digital editor
28 November 2018

The Volvo stand at this year’s Los Angeles motor show press event doesn't feature any cars on it – with the Swedish firm saying it is instead using the event to explore how the concept of a car will change in the future.

In place of a selection of its newest vehicles, the focal point of Volvo's stand for the Automobility LA event at the Los Angeles Convention Centre is a sign reading ‘This is not a car’.

LA motor show 2018: cars that will be at the show

Marten Levenstam, Volvo’s product strategy boss, said the decision was partly inspired by event organisers calling the show’s press days Automobility LA, incorporating a series of events exploring future car technology. 

Levanstam said that Volvo “got the memo” and wanted to “start a conversation about the future of automobility. So instead of bringing a car, we talk about the concept of a car.”

Volvo’s stand features a series of interactive displays focusing on services it is developing for the future, including connectivity, autonomous driving and in-car delivery services.

The bold decision to show no cars on the stand allowed Volvo to concentrate on telling us how technology will revolutionise our relationship with it. Nothing so new with the idea, but there was new in the detail. Instead of discussing a concept car, said chief strategist Morten Levenstam, Volvo wants to discuss the concept of the car, and bring back some of the freedoms it originally provided.

These include quality time on board, because the car self-drives, using the car as a receptacle for Amazon package deliveries for instance - no more undelivered, lost or stolen parcels - enabling your car to provide every app you have when you're outside it and elsewhere. Rather startlingly the company suggested not buying cars.

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Partnerships will bring about some of this, with tech companies like Amazon and Google, and less well known silicon valley inhabitants such as Luminar, which specialises in long-range radar imaging.

Luminar's LIDAR sensors have a range of 250 metres, and can also identify human movement, bringing autonomy a step closer.

Not buying a car is about subscription services, which Volvo already offers in the US, bringing in new customers, and customers 10 years younger than those acquiring through traditional means. Again, not new, but like much of the much broader technology around cars these days, part of the gathering shift in the way we'll use them tomorrow.

The car maker has previously highlighted some of those services and concepts with its recent 360C autonomous concept, and with a series of trials and link-ups with tech firms including Amazon, Google and Chinese firm Baidu.  

The stand also highlights Volvo's planned car-sharing scheme and Care by Volvo service, a subscription offering the brand believes could account for half of its 'sales' in the future.

Additional words by Richard Bremner

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Join the debate


21 November 2018

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21 November 2018

Considering that the S60 is now home grown LA would be a great place to launch the car as well as dialog with potential customers. 


21 November 2018

I believe Volvo is being 'economical with the truth'.  It seems they will not have cars on their stand for the media days, but as soon as the public are let in a few days later, then cars will magically appear.

Perhaps Autocar should actually call Volvo before blindly reporting half of the facts?

21 November 2018

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21 November 2018

It's the sound of Volvo disppearing up its own (increasingly pretentious) a*se.

If cars are such a "problem", stop building them. "Mobility solutions" already exist - they're known as trains, buses, taxis, bicycles... and walking. 

WTF is an "in-car delivery service"!?

21 November 2018
XLR8 wrote:

WTF is an "in-car delivery service"!?

Its a service were companies, say Amazon for instance are given a one time code, so they can drop off parcels into your car boot whilst you are not there, they already operate a service were they can get access to peoples houses to drop them off


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