Volvos too Swedish?

jack_christie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2006
Messages
3,970
Don't like the sound of this......

Are Volvos too Swedish? They are, according to Li Shufu, head of the Chinese firm that bought the car manufacturer in 2010. He told a TV interview that the interiors ?feel too Scandinavian?, and the management?s a bit Swedish
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/motoring-news/dont-like-the-taste-of-swedes-well-neither-does-volvos-new-chinese-owner-8585127.html

Li Shufu critical of Volvo design
http://www.goteborgdaily.se/li-shufu-critical-of-volvo-design

Geely grapples with the Volvo gears
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bdb705c6-abcf-11e2-8c63-00144feabdc0.html
 

sicnarf_1978

Active Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Messages
228
Location
St-J�r�me, Qu�bec
Car(s)
Buick Regal 2017
The chinese owner have forgottent one thing... Volvo have a Scandinavian look because... it is a Scandinavian company. People buy Volvo because of that.
 

Spectre

The Deported
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
36,152
Location
Dallas, Texas
Car(s)
87 XJ6 | 89 Bronco | 86 CB700SC | 02 919 | 00 4Run
So predictable. More and more design and management will now be relocating to China in the very near future. And pretty soon, Volvo will end up just being a badge job.
 
Last edited:

thomas

Grouchy Beemer Owner
DONOR
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
5,846
Location
near Stuttgart, or Texas when possible
Car(s)
'00 M539, '94 Cadillac Fleetwood, '16 Focus Wagon
I don't imply that this chinese dude has any clue what he's talking about, but...

People buy Volvo because of that.
Do they? And if yes, are those few people enough? Seeing that in 2012 for example Volvo sold less cars than BMW just SUVs on the global market, I am not sure those numbers justify it. If Volvo is fine with being what is effectively a nieche-brand, ok. If its profitable, even better. But if thats a no to both, they might consider actually listening to the chinese dude.
 

AiR

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
11,986
Location
Suecia
Car(s)
Bulgogi Knedliky 1.6 GDI (Hyundai i30)
Aside from Li Shufu saying that years ago (old news) he also suggested putting Volvo badges on mopeds in a meeting with AB Volvo. The people at Volvo Group was not impressed. As long as Shufu keeps to the owner role and leaves management to competent people all will be well.

Reflection on being "too swedish":
Unswedish (osvensk) is a positive word in Sweden, but only applicable in the trivial areas of life. We love Zlatan Ibrahimovic for being so unswedish, typically unswedish parties are great (over the top grandeur, maybe some samba etc). But if you apply unswedish to the rational parts of life then it's always a negative word. "Typically unswedish food hygiene" is not a good thing. Unswedish healthcare or tax morale or rule of law is always negative.

Danish has same roots and thus the same word, odansk (undanish), but unlike in Sweden it is always a negative word. If you're odansk, you're basically the biggest tosser on the planet. Same as telling an american he's unamerican, he'll wave a flag in your face and turn into U-S-A, U-S-A in an instant.

Sweden is a socially engineered country where politicians and society planners have acted based on rationality and measurable studies, so we know that we are the best in the world when it comes to all things rational. Swedish authorities have pushed things at the people, and the people have accepted since they know it is based on rational thought and for our best. At the same time we're embarrassed by our lack of spontaneity and generally stiff behavior. That's why unswedish can be both positive and negative at the same time.
 
Last edited:

headcrash

Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2007
Messages
70
So predictable. More and more design and management will now be relocating to China in the very near future. And pretty soon, Volvo will end up just being a badge job.
Bullshit.

Peter Mertens, head of research and development, said there are no differences of opinion regarding the design.

?The design does not cause conflicts, but there are different requirements. For example, Volvo?s customers in China often have private chauffeurs. This means that you need to focus more on the backseat and details that are not as important in Europe,? he told SVT Rapport.
and

Volvo Cars? Director of Communications, Bodil Eriksson, also said there are no conflicts regarding the design. She said to national newspaper Svenska Dagbladet:

?What he [Li Shufu] comments on is the existing cars. We are on a journey to develop Volvo towards a luxury car brand. We all agree that we have to improve the interior and design.?
and

But Bodil Eriksson maintained that Li Shufu was referring to Volvo?s long-term programme. She also revealed for Svenska Dagbladet that Volvo will hire Robin Page from Bentley as the new head of interior design.
So, this is exclusively about interior design, and he has a point. Volvo can't compete with the Germans regarding luxury interiors at the moment and they obviously want to succeed in the growing chinese market. All comments make sense and they don't mean that they will build cheap chinese Volvos and SUVs.
 

M3lover

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2005
Messages
1,959
Location
The milkyway, Earth, Denmark, Copenhagen
Car(s)
S204 Mercedes-Benz C200 CDI BE T
Danish has same roots and thus the same word, odansk (undanish), but unlike in Sweden it is always a negative word. If you're odansk, you're basically the biggest tosser on the planet. Same as telling an american he's unamerican, he'll wave a flag in your face and turn into U-S-A, U-S-A in an instant.
I'm sorry but


(it's called udansk btw, and is hardly ever used in daily talking...)
 

Interrobang

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
8,119
The chinese owner have forgottent one thing... Volvo have a Scandinavian look because... it is a Scandinavian company. People buy Volvo because of that.
Well, I wouldn?t say that people actually buy them because they are Scandinavian, I don?t go to Ikea and buy their furniture because it?s scandinavian ... I buy it because it?s nice. You buy Volvos because they aren?t that mainstream, different ... or you don?t buy them because of that. It?s not the "scandinavian-ness" ...
For the owners it?s a question where they want to go with Volvo. Mainstream success or niche-appeal. If they want to turn Volvo into another Kia or Hyundai, I think the whole Car industry would be at a loss.
 

British_Rover

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
4,288
Location
Torrington, CT United States
Car(s)
2005 Gr Cherokee, dealer demo
So predictable. More and more design and management will now be relocating to China in the very near future. And pretty soon, Volvo will end up just being a badge job.
Typical negative nancy specter. You can build cars for the Chinese market without screwing them up for the rest of the world. The Chinese idea of Luxury and the Swedish idea of luxury are obviously different. Just like the German and American versions of Luxury are different. Better modular manufacturing techniques will make it easier to make those kind of changes. Volvo is also going to expand production in China which will make Volvos just for China.

In fact that is pretty much what the full quote says.

Volvo has one weakness and that is the design. And the cars? interior does not feel luxurious enough. It feels too Scandinavian. They haven?t adapted to the Chinese people?s perception of luxury when it comes to the interior design of Volvo Cars and this has to be addressed,? said Li Shufu to SVT.
You can make interior changes just for the Chinese market to make them happy. You can make suspension and wheel changes to make them happy. Those are easy fixes across build lines for different markets and is something manufacturers already do to some extent.

Watch this Video.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2013/04/luxury-car-industry

I can't imagine that a Black on red interior choice is terribly popular in most markets outside of China. That being said there is new Cranberry leather interior on the C70 that looks pretty good with the Ember Black exterior paint.

Volvo already makes long wheel base S80s just for the Chinese market just like Audi makes long wheel base A6s and BMW does the same with the 3 and 5 series. You have a surplus of cheap labor in China. Not as cheap as it was a few years ago but still relatively cheap. A mid-level executive can afford to pay someone to drive them around. They can't afford the traditional chauffeur driven 7-series/S-Class/A8 though. Those cars are much more expensive in China because of currency exchange and because those top end models are typically imported and not built in China. This is changing slowly as more top end vehicles are made in China and as the Renminbi has been allowed to appreciate slightly in recent years. What is mid-level Chinese executive to do? He can't be driven around in a regular 3 series not enough room back there.

Ahh but the market has an answer. Special LWB versions of those less expensive vehicles that are already being built in China. I expect Volvo to continue this trend with more LWB versions of regular vehicles. Maybe a LWB XC60 would work well?

I also fully expect Volvo to come out with a larger sedan above the S80 as frankly the S80 is a little small in its current size. A larger sedan would please the Chinese market and allow the regular S80 to grow some. I think both of those cars could work in the US and Australian markets too as they both appreciate larger vehicles.

I don't imply that this chinese dude has any clue what he's talking about, but...


Do they? And if yes, are those few people enough? Seeing that in 2012 for example Volvo sold less cars than BMW just SUVs on the global market, I am not sure those numbers justify it. If Volvo is fine with being what is effectively a nieche-brand, ok. If its profitable, even better. But if thats a no to both, they might consider actually listening to the chinese dude.
Some people coming in to buy Volvos don't even know they are a Swedish company. Some people think that Ford moved all production to America when they bought the company. Some people think they are German. In order for Volvo to sell more cars in the US they need to have more aggressive financing and lease options and in order to do that they need to leverage more volume. The higher volume will let them spread the cost of those lease incentives around.

Hmh its a circle crap.

Enter China. Huge immature market for luxury cars as long as they are targeted the right way. Much higher profit margins in China then the US or Europe too. All that volume can help drive down costs to expand sales in the US.

Well, I wouldn?t say that people actually buy them because they are Scandinavian, I don?t go to Ikea and buy their furniture because it?s scandinavian ... I buy it because it?s nice. You buy Volvos because they aren?t that mainstream, different ... or you don?t buy them because of that. It?s not the "scandinavian-ness" ...
For the owners it?s a question where they want to go with Volvo. Mainstream success or niche-appeal. If they want to turn Volvo into another Kia or Hyundai, I think the whole Car industry would be at a loss.
You have it exactly right. Sometimes people who have no idea that Volvo is Swedish come and look at them because they prefer the more simple minimalist design at least in the interiors. I have gotten generally positive feedback on the sexier bit more complex current S60 and XC60 exterior design. The thing is that simple Scandinavian design is, at least as I understand it, not necessarily the ideal luxury interior in China. You can make changes to the interior to appeal to different Chinese tastes without making those same changes to cars sold in other markets. At least to an extent.
 

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,963
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
Ummm...are they insane?

I've read multiple reviews of new Volvos. People may criticize their chassis, or steering, or transmission...but I don't recall reading negative reviews about the interior design. (some were unhappy with the C30 dash looking a little old...well, it looked good back in 2006-2007).
 

chaos386

.sa = bad driver!
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
7,960
Location
Back in Saudia
Car(s)
SEAT Leon FR
Ummm...are they insane?
I love how knee-jerk everyone's reactions have been (aside from British_Rover), despite not having read what he actually said.

I've read multiple reviews of new Volvos.

People may criticize their chassis, or steering, or transmission...but I don't recall reading negative reviews about the interior design. (some were unhappy with the C30 dash looking a little old...well, it looked good back in 2006-2007).
How many of those reviews were in Chinese? He was specifically and explicitly talking about just the Chinese market.
 

Vette Boss

Forum Addict
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
5,248
Location
United States, Britain, in time
Car(s)
2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 VR6
The main thing with China, they seem to care more about rear legroom and gadgets. Neither of these are really Volvo strong points. Volvo isn't following the path of say Audi, who are now making specific models with rear legroom for China.
 

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,963
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
I think they did have a long wheelbase S80 at one point.

chaos386, so are you saying that they will design whole new interiors for the Chinese market, while the rest of the world will still get the regular "Swedish" interior? I somehow doubt that.
 

British_Rover

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
4,288
Location
Torrington, CT United States
Car(s)
2005 Gr Cherokee, dealer demo
The main thing with China, they seem to care more about rear legroom and gadgets. Neither of these are really Volvo strong points. Volvo isn't following the path of say Audi, who are now making specific models with rear legroom for China.
Everyone is making long wheel base models of standard sized cars in China.

Well all the Euro brands anyway. The big Buicks are already cheap enough and with enough rear legroom to not need a special model.

http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1030862_first-volvo-s80l-long-wheelbase-sedans-roll-off-the-line-in-china

The reason for this is because labor is so cheap in the Chinese market. You can pay someone five dollars a day to drive you around but you can't buy a S-Class or 7 series for less then 100,000 USD. Those models are not built in China so tariffs and the currency exchange kills you. The least expensive S-Class in China is over 150,000 USD and the most expensive is almost 500,000 USD.

http://www.mercedes-benz.com.cn/content/china/mpc/mpc_china_website/enng/home_mpc/passengercars/home/new_cars/models/s-class/_w221/advice_sales/catalogue_prices.html

Some middle management Chinese Executive or bureaucrat cannot afford that upfront cost but they can afford say 50,000 to 80,000 USD for a long wheelbase S80, A4, 3 series or 5 series. The S80L starts around 60,000 in China and finishes around 107,000 USD.

http://www.volvocars.com/zh-cn/sales-services/sales/pages/car-configurator.aspx

You know what I learned that is interesting by looking that up? You know doing research and not just having a knee jerk reaction. Volvo's Chinese website is completely in Chinese Characters. It is set up just like the US website so I could navigate it by memory but there is no western characters at all except for the word Volvo and model names. The Mercedes website is pretty much entirely in English. Now maybe there is a Chinese character site that I can't get to from the US or someway to turn it on but I couldn't figure it out. There are Chinese characters at the bottom of the page but they do not turn on the Chinese site at least not in Firefox, Chrome or the newest IE. Seems fairly shortsighted of Mercedes not to have their Chinese site in Chinese.
 

rickhamilton620

has a fetish for terrible cars
Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
16,686
Location
Yoe, PA
Car(s)
2012 Kia Forte EX
I think they did have a long wheelbase S80 at one point.

chaos386, so are you saying that they will design whole new interiors for the Chinese market, while the rest of the world will still get the regular "Swedish" interior? I somehow doubt that.
The Chinese car market tends to favor more conservative styling overall. That's suspected to be one reason why Ford's bringing back the Escort nameplate with a pretty conservatively styled notchback sedan.

If the interiors could be more conservative in terms of material color or type like British_Rover said, then I can see how it can be done. We're all aware, after all, of how a simple color change can transform an interior's ambiance: ex: a gray interior looking dull compared to a black w/ brushed metal trimmed pieces interior looking "sporty."
 

chaos386

.sa = bad driver!
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
7,960
Location
Back in Saudia
Car(s)
SEAT Leon FR
chaos386, so are you saying that they will design whole new interiors for the Chinese market, while the rest of the world will still get the regular "Swedish" interior?
Not "throw out the entire thing and make a new one from scratch", no. Tweaked ones in terms of colors and materials, though? Definitely. China is the world's single largest car market, so they'd be fools not to design for it.
 
Top