2019 Volvo S60 – A Redesign Ready to Challenge the Germans

Since the mid 90’s, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz have enjoyed two decades of dominance in the luxury sedan segment after toppling the American automotive giants based in Michigan. What has seemed to be an unstoppable force is now ripe for the picking as we get closer to 2020. In recent years, German automakers have put a lot of emphasis on their crossovers and trying to one up each other with every new model they release. Meanwhile, scattered across the European continent, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Jaguar have made strides in the US, but only Volvo has taken the initiative to go all in and take on the Germans singlehandedly.

Volvo’s all new lineup is just about ready to be completed with the redesigned S60/V60 hitting the market later this year. The XC40, XC60, and XC90 are positioned perfectly to compete in all segments of the crossover market, while the S90/V90 flagship brings Swedish luxury and design to German dominated full-sized sedan and wagon segments. But it’s the S60 that’s going to be a significant competitor; one that will certainly make consumers very conflicted on whether to buy a BMW 3 Series, or go with a Swedish car instead of being mainstream.

Having seen the new S60 in person at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA during Swedish Car Day, my initial impression is that this car is purposely built to rival any compact to mid-sized sedan Audi, Mercedes Benz, and BMW have to offer. With a starting price just under $36k, the standard equipment on the S60 should already draw interest by consumers. LED headlights, a panoramic moonroof, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an 8″ digital information display, and dual zone climate control are the highlighted features on a “base model” S60 T5 Momentum.

If 250 hp isn’t enough, you can option for a T6 with AWD that gets 316 hp and 295 lb. ft. of torque for an additional $4,500. Optional features that are also available on the T5 include: 19″ alloy wheels, exterior styling kits that give the S60 a more sporty appearance with a different rear diffuser and slightly aggressive side skirts, and a multimedia package that adds a 12.3″ digital instrument cluster, a Harman Kardon Premium Audio system, and a navigation system. Volvo has built a brand on safety, and it shouldn’t be surprising that additional safety technology such as blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, and a 360 degree birds eye view camera are available as well.

For the Inscription and R-Design trims an all new T8 plug-in hybrid engine is going to make the S60 one stealthy performance sedan on the road. 400 hp and 495 lb. ft. of torque will leave fellow motorists bewildered and speechless as Volvo’s aren’t known for their quick 0-60 accelerations. For this type of performance you’re looking at a price tag around $55k which is in line with the Audi S4.

Where the Volvo S60 is really going to excel at is right around the $40k price range. To put this into perspective, the base price for the S60 would get you a BMW 320i xDrive sedan, a front wheel drive Audi A3 and A4, or a CLA 250 4MATIC. The standard equipment alone puts Volvo at an advantage, and if you went with a T5 engine, you’d have the additional $4,500 to spend on packages before you reach the price of an entry level C300 and BMW 328i. When doing a quick comparison, the Audi A4 would probably be the closest competitor to the S60 at this price range which offers some similar features. You could probably make a case for the A3 to be in this conversation, but then we’d be comparing a compact sedan with an S60 that is the A4’s Swedish counterpart.

The S60 is priced to succeed in a segment that gets little to no attention. While the Germans have been set in their ways, Volvo made crucial changes that will immediately turn heads. Geely did the best they could with the remains of the Ford DNA in Volvo vehicles, and now that these models are built on their platform, Volvo can attract a new generation to a brand that’s appealed to older consumers for decades.

At the end of the day Volvo has been a feel-good story. From being on the ropes a few years ago to now producing classy and luxurious vehicles, the Swedish automaker hasn’t even hit the ceiling of potential. There’s plenty of excitement surrounding the brand, and with the redesigned S60, 2019 could be a very good year for Volvo.

Volvo Dealerships, Listen Up

In the month of April, Volvo was outsold by Porsche in the United States, 5,217 cars to 4,636 sold by the Swedish automaker. This is very alarming, especially since Porsche’s prices are higher than Volvo’s, and also their vehicles were once rarer. What happened? It wasn’t too long ago, 8 years ago in fact, that Volvo’s yearly sales were in the six figure range. In 2014, the annual sales were at 56,366, which was a 5,000 car drop from the previous year. Volvo is heading into a very dangerous time, and you could say that the new XC90 will keep the company afloat until the major lineup changes take affect in 2017, but I don’t think you can wait another two years before sales figures could, and I stress could, rebound.

Mercedes Benz, Audi, and BMW are in contention for the number one spot, steamrolling over any car brand that even tries to compete with the German luxury car market. But the fact that Volvo was outsold by Porsche is a major concern, and here’s why. The Porsche Macan, Cayenne, and Panamera made up a huge portion of sales in the month April, which means they’re successfully selling their four-door vehicles. The bulk of Volvo’s sales came from the XC60 and S60, with the V60 and V60 CC chipping in with a combined total of just over 700. Now that we’ve seen what’s working for both automakers, it’s time to look at how Volvo dealerships can help improve car sales for the brand. Yes, you the dealerships can play a major role in your car brand’s overall sales.

I’ve had the pleasure of being inside the Volvo S60, and quite honestly, it was enjoyable to drive and sit in. Comfortable interior, and being the owner of an S40, I didn’t feel like I was in a drastically different car, which I liked. With 240 horsepower for the base model, that competes with and beats some of the German competitors in terms of power. You’ve got to let the consumer know that. Brand perception is still holding strong with the “It’s a family man’s car” or “For the Middle-aged adult”. I was at the car show in Boston this past January and there were more than just families in the Volvo section. Twenty-five year olds were surrounding the S60 Polestar, and they didn’t just sit and stare at it, they read the description next to it. There was a genuine interest.

Looking at the various lease options for the S60 from a number of local Volvo dealerships, the S60 is also cheaper to lease monthly than the Audi A3 and A4, Mercedes Benz CLA, and C-Class, and in some cases even cheaper than the BMW 320i X-drive. The S60 beats the competition, not only in power but also price. You have to make that known to the customer, and by advertising and posting content on social media, you can help spread the awareness.

The XC60 seems to be your best seller, and for good reason. But very rarely do I see Volvo dealerships making the XC60 a main focal point on social media. I know that the XC60 is due for a platform change that should happen in 2017, along with the S60/V60, but with a two year buffer, you have to continue pushing the crossover SUV. Porsche is clearly beating you to the punch, and consumers are willing to pay extra if need be to get a luxury crossover or SUV.

The V60 is another car that I don’t see being pushed much on social media, or even in other forms of advertising for that matter. The V60 Cross Country almost outsold the XC70, while also being 87 cars behind the V60 variant. In terms of luxury the V60 is one step higher than Subaru, and again, Volvo isn’t playing this up to their advantage. The V60 CC could have seen stronger sales, especially after the winter we experienced here in the Northeast. But again, Volvo dealerships missed a golden opportunity to promote their off-road capable station wagon.

Lastly, with the XC90 being the most iconic car for this generation of Volvo’s, it’s been somewhat disappointing to see dealerships not emphasizing the importance of this car, while also building up excitement for its release. Right now dealerships are doing the best they can, but hopefully with the new XC90 hitting showrooms, Volvo dealerships will give customers an inside look of their cars, whether that be at local events, or on social media.

Social media is vital to your car brand’s success. You have to utilize Facebook and Instagram. I see the passion for Volvo’s by current owners. They need a reason to go back to the dealership and consider trading in their old Volvo for a new one. The new Volvo’s are absolutely beautiful and I find them to be a dark horse in its market. You have to bring them to light, and make consumers aware of the better options your car company can provide.

Volvo’s Plans Are Becoming Clearer, Ghent Factory Part Of Future

Owners of the Volvo S40 in the United States know that their Volvo didn’t come from Sweden, but that it was manufactured in Ghent, Belgium. Today, there are rumblings and rumors that the S40’s siblings will be coming to America by 2018, and yes, they’ll be manufactured in Ghent just like their predecessor. Motor Authority broke the news that the V40, which is already sold in Europe, should be landing on our shores later this decade, while also introducing the all new XC40. These two new models are just the tip of the iceberg for the Swedish automaker, as Volvo has a 5 year plan to take on other luxury brands in the United States.

With the news that Ghent will play a role in Volvo’s revival in the US, there’s also rumors that China might come into play, as Volvo still hasn’t given up on the idea of selling Chinese-made vehicles. So far it appears that Ghent is the top priority. With that being said, Volvo is also building a new plant in the United States, possibly manufacturing the larger models, but no official word as of today.

Volvo’s other plans consist of new changes to the S60/V60 and XC60, introducing their new flagship, the S90/V90, and discontinuing the S80. With their German counterparts grabbing market share and continuously adding on to their lineups, Volvo has been forced into action as they’ve experienced some adverse times. Clearly, this isn’t Saab, and by entering markets that consumers are buying in, Volvo can experience revitalization, but there’s a lot of work ahead of them.

Right now, there are no official plans to reintroduce the Volvo S40 to the United States. While Top Gear did report that the S40 was in future plans, it appears that the compact sedan isn’t a top priority at this time. However, taking on the Audi A3 and Mercedes Benz CLA would be a wise move, as they also can offer the V40 and XC40 variants to appeal to consumers in that market.

The next few years should be interesting, and it will be exciting to see what will be coming out of Sweden, Ghent, and the United States factories by 2018.

Volvo Building Manufacturing Plant In The United States

So much for all the concerns and drama over Chinese-made Volvo’s invading dealership lots stateside in a few years. Volvo has recently announced that they will be building a manufacturing plant in the United States. Very little has been released on what models will be manufactured there, but with all the hype surrounding the Swedish automaker after the new XC90’s debut, and their five year plan released a few months back, speculation could run wild as Volvo will be introducing new models to their lineup by 2019.

It’s been said that Volvo was trying hard to get a plant built in Mexico, but those plans fell through, leaving the United States as the next best option. Volvo would be following in the footsteps of Mercedes Benz and BMW, who are already producing cars here in America. Most notably, the BMW X-series is made in the United States. Volkswagen has also moved some of their production to our side of the Atlantic Ocean as the mid-sized sedan Passat is made in Tennessee.

Volvo has plans of reintroducing the S40, leaving the door open for a V40 debut, while also adding an XC40 to the lineup by 2019. The S60/V60 and XC60 will be seeing major changes and will be built on a new platform, raising speculations that maybe these will be some of the cars that will be manufactured here. Depending on when this plant gets built, one could also speculate the all new S90/V90, the new flagships for the automaker, could be made in the United States. BMW and Mercedes Benz manufacture some of their bigger models in the US, so why not Volvo?

The Swedish automaker is going to be busy the next five years, and with a new chief executive for North America, Volvo looks to be more aggressive heading into 2020 to compete with other luxury brands in their market.

Volvo On The Verge Of Revamping Their Lineup, New Models By 2019

Volvo, the usually very conservative auto manufacturer, is now a few years away from having a completely new lineup. Some new models will be introduced to the United States by 2019. The S80 will be replaced by the S90/V90, and the S60/V60 and XC60 will all be completely redesigned by 2018. With major changes underway, this adjustment in the lineup is very similar to a pro sports team rebuilding for the future to contend with powerhouses. Unlike their Swedish counterpart, Volvo has learned from Saab’s mistakes and they plan on taking the world by storm with a completely new look.

The unveiling of the new Volvo XC90 was just the beginning of the changes we’ll be seeing in the next four years. Even years after Ford’s sale of Volvo, the S60/V60 and the previous generation XC90 are all using Ford platforms. Starting this year the Swedish automaker is moving in a new direction, a path that is purely theirs, offering unique vehicles to consumers. The real question is, will Americans be enticed by what Volvo will be offering them in a few years?

Right now Volvo is playing catch-up in the automotive world. While Mercedes Benz and BMW are expanding every year, Volvo has maintained a minimal number of models the past three years. The S40, V50, C30, and C70 are no longer in production, leaving the company out of some major growing markets. While Volvo needed to change things around, getting rid of the compact S40 may have been a mistake to some degree as Audi and Mercedes Benz introduced the A3 and CLA two years later. Not to mention other luxury brands who have entered the small sedan market and created market share for themselves.

By 2019 however, we’ll be seeing the S40 making a reappearance to the United States, along with the V40, and all new XC40. With companies like Mazda making the CX-3, Audi producing the Q3, and BMW selling the X1, Volvo is already behind in the small crossover market. The XC60 is the closest thing Volvo has to a crossover, and while it’s the companies best seller, it’s still not selling enough to compete with the likes of other auto brands who are making smaller and more affordable crossovers. That’s where the XC40 comes in. Early reports suggest it should be priced around $30,000 when it hits the US market in 2019

2014 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design
qJake / Foter / CC BY-SA

The S60/V60 and XC60 will be completely redone by 2018 with the XC60 getting a new platform and look in 2017. Still influenced by Ford, Volvo is doing as much as they can with the S60/V60 and XC60, and for the time being it’s working. Moving ahead, Volvo has to make these changes to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack.

The S90/V90 will be the new flagship for Volvo. Sharing the same platform as the XC90, Volvo’s first order of business is the large sedan market. It’s actually a bold strategy as other car companies are going smaller, putting small sedans and crossovers as a top priority. The XC90 definitely needed a new look to attract consumers, and by the looks of it the SUV is making a huge splash already.

However, has the lineup change come too late? Has Volvo waited far too long to offer a new S40/V40, or introduce a smaller sibling of the XC60? Every other auto brand is lightyears ahead in terms of adding more vehicles to lineups and giving the consumer more variety. Volvo finds themselves among some very worthy and tough competitors, and with Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Audi duking it out, is their room for one more in a very heated auto market? These are the questions that are worth asking.

Saab’s changes came way too late in the game. Is Volvo the next Swedish automaker to make adjustments at the wrong time? Volvo’s have always been special, offering a comfortable ride that very few car companies could match. The direction their moving in is necessary to survive, but how close are they flirting to flatlining? The competition is steep, and a lot can happen in a few years. New markets may emerge, the small sedan and crossover classes could become saturated, or other auto brands replicate what made Volvo so successful.

Volvo’s lineup changes will be exciting to watch nonetheless. It’s going to be refreshing to see new models coning out of Stockholm, and hopefully with a revamped lineup, we’ll see the Swedish auto maker dominate once again.

Volvo Has Caught The Cross Country Bug. XC S60 and XC V60?

Volvo is a company in transition. Under new ownership after being sold by Ford, Volvo has had difficulty in distancing itself from it’s past. Much of the designs and components of their older models such as the S60 and discontinued S40 were based off of Ford, and for the S60, there are major changes underway to get rid of the old blueprint and start fresh in 2015. Well they’ve certainly done that by unveiling their new XC version of the S60. With a height adjustment of 2.5 inches, Volvo is moving away from their traditional sedan and have suddenly come up with a Subaru-like, height-adjusted, tough terrain beating car and station wagon.

The addition to the XC family has already caused confusion with the media as there is an XC V60 and a XC60 now, but the difference being one is a station wagon and the other a crossover. What are Volvo’s future plans, what segment are they trying to enter, and who exactly are they competing against with their new XC lineup? These questions seem to go unanswered, but one could speculate that they’re trying to be the more luxurious Subaru by offering AWD across their product line, or their bringing Subaru-like engineering to the luxury car market, a segment that hasn’t been capitalized as of yet. But is there a demand for it?

Volvos primarily sell better in the states with winter climates as their AWD systems are a luxury during the late fall and winter months during the year. It’s very possible that they’re trying to target a specific market that either likes off-road capabilities or prefers something other than Subaru without sacrificing the AWD and year round durability.

However, the redesigned Volvo XC90 might contradict that theory as Volvo unveiled the R-design trim that will surely take on the BMW X5 and Audi Q5. It appears the Swedish automaker is trying to take on multiple segments at once, while also innovating along the way. They have a triple turbocharged engine in the works that could revolutionize the car industry while also continuing to perfect their safety features on their cars.

It will be interesting to see the reception the XC S60 gets when it enters Volvo dealerships early this year. Personally, I see the XC V60 doing better as Subaru has lived off the AWD station wagons for years, and it’s possible Volvo can experience that same success. Great things are happening up in Sweden these days, and let’s hope we continue to see these changes as Volvos have become very luxury-based cars over the past 5 years or so.

Volvo Has Made Great Cars Over The Years And That’s A Problem

When you think of Volvo, safety, reliability, and the famous steel cage probably come to mind which is a good thing, especially for a car manufacturer. However, these three qualities have created a dilemma for the Swedish auto maker that is becoming detrimental to the company as the years have passed. Next time when you’re commuting and notice a Volvo, are they new, or six to seven years old? Most likely, the answer would be the latter. Having noticed this every morning, it’s become apparent that Volvo owners are too loyal to their older cars, and not going to the dealership to trade them in.

In 2012, Volvo ranked 1st in owners who keep their old cars the longest. On average, Volvos stay with one owner for over 7 years before they’re traded in, and more astonishing, only 30% of those trade ins were to buy another Volvo. Brand loyalty is down considerably, despite the Swedish auto maker manufacturing better, more modern vehicles that should be appealing to younger buyers and not the 50 somethings. What is the underlying issue though, and how can Volvo get back what they’ve lost over the past 15 years?

The biggest problem is that Volvo owners have no reason to visit a dealership unless it’s for a routine checkup or oil change, because their cars don’t break down or have any mechanical failures that other manufacturers experience. Because of this, consumers aren’t seeing the new models in the showroom, or aren’t even exposed to newer Volvo’s. As an owner of an S40, I can attest that it’s extremely difficult to think of owning a different car or a newer Volvo, and having seen and talked to other owners both in person and on Facebook, I’m not the only one who can’t part ways with his or her sedan. Most of the photos that are shared on social media are all Volvos made prior to 2010, and surprisingly, there appears to be more love for the older S60 design than the current one, which in my opinion, the 2014 S60 is a work of art.

Another reason some Volvo owners may hold onto their cars is because their models are no longer in production. The C30, C70, S40, V50, and V70, to name a few, are no longer being made or sold in the United States, and while for some auto manufacturers that’s not a problem, for Volvo, the owners of these cars are attached and are more likely going to continue putting money into their vehicles.

Volvo dealerships need to attract consumers, whether they’ve owned previous Volvos, or are first time buyers to the brand. The new look S60 and V60 are great cars, and with the AWD options, turbocharged engines, and the comforts of a luxury vehicle, these cars could easily sell if they could get owners of older Volvos to consider trading them in. For some manufacturers, they need to stop thinking conventional, and start looking outside the box and reach new customers. Right now, Volvo and many other auto brands aren’t doing that. Volvo is not Saab (thank goodness), but if they don’t start getting people into dealerships’ doors, they’ll be looking down the same road as their Swedish counterpart.