Volvo Cars announces new global marketing strategy
- Challenges traditional car marketing
- Marketing budget to increase
- One motor show per continent; Volvo-branded event to replace motor shows
- New online marketing channels will establish digital leadership
Volvo Cars today announces a brand new global marketing strategy that allows it to market and sell cars in ways never before seen in the global automotive industry.
“The car industry is one of the most conservative, least evolutionary marketing clusters in global business,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Cars. “For decades, car marketing has been following a certain pattern which is followed by the entire car industry. Now, Volvo Cars chooses to defy that logic and implement a strategy that is geared towards its own needs.”
The new strategy – the ‘Volvo Way to Market’ – focuses on four areas: marketing tools, digital leadership, dealerships and service.
One significant development contained in the new marketing strategy is that Volvo will in future concentrate on three key international motor shows, one each in Europe, the US and Asia. In addition, it will conduct an annual Volvo event to showcase its products and brand. It will also place online sales and marketing at the center of its marketing strategy and drastically upgrade its dealerships and service offering.
In order to achieve these goals, Volvo is increasing its marketing budget.
“With the Volvo Way to Market, we don’t want to throw all existing marketing concepts overboard,” said Mr Visser. “Many of them exist for a good reason. We also don't want to have the arrogance to say that we are better than all the rest. But we do have the self-confidence to say that we are different. So our way to market needs to be different as well.”
The details of the new strategy are as follows:
The Volvo Way to Market entails a radically new approach towards the tools used to market Volvo cars to the general public.
Volvo Cars sees the need to expose the press and customers to its brand, products and innovations, but motor shows are not always the best way to do this. “Motor shows are a rather traditional affair in which brands crowd out each other at set times in the battle for press exposure,” said Mr Visser.
That is why Volvo Cars will gradually reduce its motor show activities and remain in one motor show per region per year: Geneva in Europe, Shanghai/Beijing in China and Detroit in the United States.
Instead of following the traditional motor show calendar, Volvo Cars will embark on a series of new initiatives that seek to have a stronger and more individual approach towards the press and customers.
Similar to the Stockholm launch event for the all-new Volvo XC90 in August of this year, the company will organize an annual Volvo event where the Volvo brand, new products and innovations are presented in a manner that is commensurate with its brand and identity.
Volvo Cars’ advertising spend will not be at the level of its larger competitors. That means the Volvo Cars message needs to stand out and the company will need to be selective in terms of media channels. Volvo Cars plans to significantly increase its investments in its brand message.
Every brand in the industry is involved in some form of sponsoring activity, mostly because it is regarded as a ‘must have’ within the marketing mix. Volvo Cars questions that logic and has decided to wind down most of its sponsoring activities.
Instead, Volvo Cars will increase its commitment and investment in the Volvo Ocean Race. Rather than just another sponsoring activity, it sees the Volvo Ocean Race as purely Volvo. It is the most competitive, fair and pure blend of people with nature.
The biggest revolution currently underway in the car industry is not happening in the headquarters of manufacturers themselves, but in peoples’ living rooms.
The vast majority of customers around the globe shops online nowadays. Rather than going from dealership to dealership, car buyers now go from website to website.
As a result, the first leg of the Volvo Way to Market focuses on digital leadership and identifies three key elements:
Volvo Cars will start to sell online gradually across the globe. But rather than a replacement of our dealership network, online sales will complement our dealerships. Volvo Cars has worked closely with its dealer network in developing the tool in order to retain the personal touch that is so important in buying, delivering and servicing cars.
A first, successful step in digital commerce was taken with the online-only sale of 1,927 Special Editions Volvo XC90 cars in September, and this success further boosts the company’s commitment to growing its digital commerce activities.
An industry-leading configurator
Instead of the existing ‘build up your car from scratch’ concept that is ubiquitous in the car industry, Volvo Cars will offer customers a simple and functional experience that starts with what it calls ‘the designers choice’: a fully-specified car which the consumer can then adjust based on personal taste and budget.
Once the choice has been made, the consumer receives a short video which shows the car of choice in motion. This will result in a simple, cool, fun and premium experience.
An industry-leading website
The new Volvo Cars website is no longer simply a source of information. It is a brand experience in which every screen and every single piece of information is laid out in a Volvo way and in line with the Volvo brand and values.
Several car brands invest in so-called brand centers, located in major cities. Volvo Cars believes that each Volvo dealer is a brand center on its own. That is why the company has started to implement the following initiatives:
- All new dealerships will have a globally uniform lay-out and look and feel. Exterior and interior will look and feel Scandinavian and truly Volvo.
- Existing dealerships will be upgraded in a similar way with small details that make a difference. These will display the Scandinavian roots of the Volvo brand and the key attributes and customer benefits of Volvo products.
- Volvo Cars will implement small differentiators that underline the company’s Scandinavian and Swedish heritage. Examples include offering customers a drink in Sweden-produced glasses, sound and smell elements that portray a Scandinavian spirit and waiting/lounge areas that offer highlights from Swedish cuisine.
- All dealer staff will go through a training program to be familiarized with these new customer service processes and standards. European dealership staff will be dressed by Swedish fashion designer Oscar Jacobsson.
The final leg of the Volvo Way to Market is Volvo Personal Service which entails the introduction of a Personal Service Technician for each and every Volvo customer. At the delivery of his or her new car, the customer will be introduced to the Personal Service Technician who will take care of the customer and car throughout the ownership.
This program obviously requires an extensive training and development program, which is already underway. A number of countries have already adopted the Personal Service Technician concept as a pilot program and customer satisfaction in these markets has increased significantly. By 2018 all Volvo dealerships around the globe will be offering this service as standard.
All to play for
ABU DHABI, December 15 – One design racing has so far served up just the outcome Volvo Ocean Race fans, sailors and organisers alike had hoped for with the introduction of the new identical Volvo Ocean 65s – incredibly close-fought racing and thrilling finishes.
After Leg 2 was brought to a close when Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) sailed in to Abu Dhabi in the dead of night in sixth place, the standings showed three boats locked together on four points at the top.
Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED), winners on Saturday of the latest stage of the race between Cape Town and Abu Dhabi, are ranked highest on the scoreboard as victors of the most recent leg.
But Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), who claimed the first leg between Alicante and Cape Town, and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), who finished as close runners-up in the opening two stages, are also on four points and equally ideally placed.
The three joint leaders are clearly the form horses in a fleet that has been, for the moment, reduced to six following the grounding of Team Vestas Wind’s (Chris Nicholson/AUS) boat on a reef near St. Brandon in the middle of Indian Ocean.
But fourth-placed MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) and Team SCA all have grounds for optimism despite finishing in the Leg 2 pacesetters’ wake on Sunday and Monday.
The Spanish boat, MAPFRE, enjoyed a beautiful Emirati sunrise before easing into Abu Dhabi in fourth place after 24 days 11 hours and 18 minutes at sea on Sunday morning.
They finished just off the podium, but there were plenty of smiles on board Martínez’s boat following their considerable improvement on Leg 1, when they finished seventh and last of the fleet.
“We’re very happy, the improvement since Leg 1 is huge and I’m proud of everyone doing a good job,” said Martínez. But he couldn’t help thinking about what might have been, adding ruefully: “We were leading at one stage.”
Team Alvimedica’s young crew could also congratulate themselves on the many positives of their leg that took a detour on November 29 when they sailed to the assistance of the stricken Team Vestas Wind.
They still have the option of a claim for redress for their actions to be heard by an independent, ISAF-appointed, international jury.
For now, though, Enright wants to reflect quietly on the performance and pinpoint where improvements can be made.
“Part of us wants to start Leg 3 tomorrow, but it will be good to have some time to rest and reflect,” said the 30-year-old skipper. “We’re excited about where we are. It’s just a matter of refining some small things.”
Team SCA, who came home at 2223 UTC late on Sunday, were frustrated at finishing sixth, but bursting with determination to put it right on the next stage.
“We are determined to grow from our mistakes and take the time in the next two and a half weeks to really fix them,” said the team’s Onboard Reporter, Corinna Halloran.
“The debrief might possibly be the most important debrief to date, as we now fully understand the complexities of the race and the other teams. We will analyse, in detail, our strengths and weakness in order to capitalise oxn our strengths and remedy our weaknesses.”
The crews will now take a breather over Christmas while the shore crews check out the boats for the next three weeks. The Abu Dhabi in-port race will be held on January 2, before the fleet sets sail again for the open seas for the 4,670-nautical mile Leg 3 to Sanya in China the following day.
Volvo Cars Drive-E T5 wins Ward’s 10 Best Engines of 2015 award
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Dec. 11, 2014) -- Volvo Cars has received yet another award for its highly successful Drive-E powertrain family. The prize, announced on December 10th at WardsAuto Outlook Conference in Southfield, Michigan, marks further recognition of Volvo’s highly successful Drive-E powertrain technology.
“The Drive-E powertrain family represents one of the jewels in the Volvo Cars crown. With the development of our 4-cylinder engine architecture we have delivered a broad offering of both gasoline and diesel powered engine variants that are also designed for hybrid applications, as can be seen in our new XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. We have concentrated on finding the sweet-spot where performance meets efficiency, and we believe that this award once again reflects our success in this endeavor,” said Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Group.
A jury of eight WardsAuto editors tested 38 competing engines throughout October and November this year during their daily commutes in and around Detroit. The tested engines were awarded points based on horsepower, torque, drivability, noise mitigation, flexibility, observed fuel economy and on-board technology.
The Drive-E T5, a turbocharged 4-cylinder, combines Brake Energy Regeneration, Start/Stop, ECO+ Technology and a smooth eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission to great effect on this front-wheel drive model, returning 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.
“We are very pleased to receive this award for our 4-cylinder Drive-E engine. It is further proof, if required, that 4-cylinder turbocharged engines are the perfect solution for the majority of today’s driving needs. We have worked hard to deliver the perfect balance between performance and efficiency, whilst ensuring a dynamic, yet comfortable ride,” said Michael Fleiss, Vice President, Powertrain at Volvo Car Group.
The award comes hot on the heels of the formal announcement by Volvo Cars that they are also developing a 3-cylinder gasoline engine for their future small and medium car models.
Among the 2.0L turbocharged engines tested by the WardsAuto jury were:
Volvo S60 / 2.0L T5 turbo 4-cyl.
Volvo S60 / 2.0L T6 turbo and supercharged 4-cyl.
Subaru WRX / 2.0L FA 4-cyl. boxer turbo
Mini Cooper S Hardtop / 2.0L turbo 4-cyl.
Lexus NX 200t / 2.0L turbo 4-cyl.
Hyundai Sonata / 2.0L turbo 4-cyl.
Chevrolet Cruze / 2.0L turbodiesel 4-cyl.
Audi S3/VW GTI / 2.0L EA888 turbo 4-cyl.
Acura TLX / 2.4L 4-cyl.
Volvo Car Group already testing its new three-cylinder engine
- New 3-cylinder engine developed by Volvo Cars in Sweden
- Volvo’s next step in its impressive Drive-E powertrain program
- Broad range of performance levels up to around 180 hp
Volvo Cars today confirms its production program to develop a lightweight 3-cylinder petrol engine. The engine, wholly developed in Sweden, will join the class-leading 4-cylinder Drive-E engines in displaying Volvo’s engineering prowess and commitment to efficient power.
“We have come a long way in the last few years at Volvo. Investments from our parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, have enabled us to recapture our position as a leader in the field of powertrain engineering. The development program for the new 3-cylinder engine is very advanced and we have already begun prototype testing of the unit,” says Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Group.
Volvo has a long history of developing its own unique 6, 5 and 4-cylinder engines and in-house expertise. The move to include a 3-cylinder in Volvo’s engine program is a natural next step in Volvo’s strategy of downsizing. The application of class-leading technology and analysis techniques enables more power and better fuel economy from smaller displacement internal combustion engines than ever before.
“We have learned a lot from the development of our 4-cylinder Drive-E engines and translated this into a highly responsive, compact and powerful premium-quality 3-cylinder engine. The engine is being developed primarily with our new CMA architecture in mind but will also provide power for our 60 Series cars thanks to Volvo’s advanced turbo technologies, while also meeting Euro 7 emission targets,” says Michael Fleiss, Vice President Powertrain at Volvo Car Group.
Built with a keen eye on the future, the new Drive-E 3-cylinder engine is designed to support several different applications, in-line with the growing demand for a real-world blend of performance and efficiency.
“The beauty of the new 3-cylinder engine we are developing is that it can be built on the same production lines as our 4-cylinder engine, offering flexible production potential which can be adapted to suit business needs as we grow. This marks an important step forward for Volvo Cars. In terms of our power and efficiency, Volvo’s engineering excellence will shine through with the Drive-E 3-cylinder engine,” concludes Dr. Mertens.
Team Vestas Wind looks at new boat option
ABU DHABI, December 8 - Team Vestas Wind is ‘exploring the opportunity’ of re-entering the Volvo Ocean Race with a new boat just over a week after their Volvo Ocean 65 ran into a reef in the Indian Ocean..
With their crew now safely on land, attention has turned to retrieving the stricken vessel, grounded on the Cargados Carajos Shoals (St Brandon), some 260 miles north east of Mauritius - and whether the Danish team will return to the race.
“It is Vestas’ clear ambition to get Team Vestas Wind out sailing again,” said the sailing team’s CEO Morten Albæk, at a press call in Abu Dhabi. “We’ll do everything within our means to make that happen.
“That said, the assessment from all parties is that the boat can’t be repaired, and therefore one of the options we’re looking into is building a new boat,” added Albæk, who is also title sponsors Vestas’ Chief Marketing Officer.
“Whether that can be done, and done in a time which is meaningful for Team Vestas Wind to re-enter the race, is still to be concluded.
“We’re working closely together with Volvo Ocean Race on exploring that opportunity.”
Skipper Chris Nicholson (AUS), who led his crew in an early hours evacuation from the boat on November 29, and on to the remote island of Íle du Sud, where they remained for the next 48 hours before hitching a ride to Mauritius on a local fishing boat, echoed those hopes.
“Prior to the crash in the preceding 48 hours, Wouter and I in regard to our normal duties of looking where the boat was going with the routing, noticed that there would be some seamounts. When I saw those I asked what the depths and the currents and the wave conditions would be.
“Wouter’s reply was that the depths went from 3000m to 40m, (which) were the extremes of the depths, the current was negligible and we would monitor the wave state as we approached...”
Team Vestas Wind navigator Wouter Verbraak (NED) explained the reason for the accident to the media:
“In hindsight we would’ve continued to zoom in on the area much more, on the electronic charts. Not doing so is the big mistake that I made, but the good thing is that we didn’t make any more.”
The incident happened around the midway point of the 5,200 nautical mile Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi of the nine-month round-the-world race which finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden, on June 27 next year.
It is Australian Nicholson’s fifth Volvo Ocean Race, and he and the rest of the crew have been debriefed by team and race officials over the weekend in Abu Dhabi and will shortly return home to their individual countries.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad explained that, for the damaged boat, the recovery operation is still ongoing, and the parties involved are working together to bring about a swift resolution.
“We’re all making our absolute best efforts to do what is right. We have a very clear mission on this and that is to make sure that the absolute minimum impact is done to the environment.
“The plan is to remove the boat, either in its current form, or in a different form. We’re working on this right now, trying to make it happen as quickly as possible.
“Our next objective is to learn from this, and support Vestas, Powerhouse, and the team in their efforts to have a future in the race.
“I must underline that that is no small challenge. I don’t want anyone to have expectations that this will easily happen; it’s an enormous challenge.
“But the Volvo Ocean Race is all about enormous challenges - and here is another one.”
Patrick Lammers, a member of retail board RWE, said on behalf of sub-sponsors Powerhouse: “We are seeking opportunities to return to the race as soon as possible. In what form, and when, is impossible to say at this time, but all options are seriously considered.”
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