2008 was a truly challenging year for the entire car industry following the impact of economic turmoil and a global financial crisis, and as result Volvo Cars global sales volumes fell by 18.3 percent to 374,297 units. During the year Volvo Cars presented a number of new exciting products, including the all-new XC60 crossover that received extremely positive attention in global media, praised for its innovative new standard safety system - City Safety. DRIVe was launched as a trademark for all the environmental work at Volvo Cars with the first range of cars under its umbrella - the Volvo C30, S40 and V50 being presented at the Paris Motor Show with best in class CO2 performance. And there is more to come in the near future, in line with the CO2 roadmap presented in 2008.
Global sales volumes totalled 374,297 units, a decline of 18.3 percent vs. the record year 2007. While a number of markets grew in volume and market share, e.g. the UK and Eastern European markets, the weakening car market in critical markets such as the US and Sweden explains the lower total volume.
Sales by market
Sales by model
Russia and China have established themselves as major sales markets on the top 10 sales list and the Volvo V50 became the best selling Volvo model after a succesful update, followed by the Volvo V70 and XC90.
In 2008 Volvo Car Corporation produced a total of 366,249 cars, where of 181,425 were manufactured in Ghent, Belgium and 165,129 were manufactured in Gothenburg, Sweden. In addition, 12,800 cars were produced at Pininfarina Sverige AB's facilities in Uddevalla, Sweden (the Volvo C70 convertible). The production in Chongqing, China totalled 5,811 cars (Volvo S40). Volvo Cars also assembled a limited number of so called completely knocked-down (CKD) units in Malaysia (474 cars) and Thailand (610 cars).
The very first Volvo car left the factory on April 14, 1927 in Lundby, Gothenburg; a Volvo ÖV4 "Open Wagon". On February 20, 2008, it was once again an open car that was under the spotlights, when car number 15,000,000, an attractive Volvo C70 convertible, left the factory in Uddevalla. In June the 6 millionth car was produced in the Volvo Cars Torslanda Plant. Also, on August 8, the four millionth car was built at Volvo Cars Ghent, a plant which today has about 3,790 employees, busy producing the new DRIVe range of the Volvo C30, S40 and V50 as well as the all-new XC60 crossover and S60.
2008 was a busy year with a number of new product launches. The all-new XC60 crossover had its world premiere and a range of new low emission versions of the C30, S40 and V50 were launched. Also, Chinese customers got a preview of the long wheelbase S80L and by the end of the year the first pictures of the exciting S60 concept were released. On top of this, a fuel saving Powershift gearbox was introduced and last but not least the range of flexifuel versions was further broadened to include five of the Volvo models.
Safe, stunning and smart - the new Volvo XC60 crossover
The new Volvo XC60 is stepping into what is currently the automotive world's fastest-growing segment - the "Small Premium Utility" segment. The new XC60 had its premiere showing at the international car show in Geneva in March, with the first cars reaching dealers in Europe in autumn 2008. By 2009, this segment is expected to expand by 75 percent to 443,000 cars. The big safety news in the XC60 is City Safety - a unique feature that can help the driver avoid or reduce the effects of the type of low-speed impacts that are common in city traffic and traffic tailbacks. The XC60 project has its sights set on a target group that imposes high demands on design, brand integrity and high-tech content.
The new Volvo C30, S40 and V50 1.6D DRIVe - with CO2 emissions of 115 and 118 g/km
At Paris Motor Show in early October, Volvo Cars presented economical new diesel variants of the C30, S40 and V50 models with fuel consumption of just 4.4 litres/100 km (C30) or 4.5 litres/100 km (S40 and V50). The corresponding CO2 figures of 115 and 118 g/km mean that the C30 and V50 have best-in-class CO2 emissions in their segments. All three models - the C30, S40 and V50 - are equipped with a special set of efficiency-enhancing features and marked with the DRIVe emblem to signal their updated environmental properties.
S80L tailored for China
Volvo Car Corporation presented the Volvo S80L at the 6th Guangzhou Motor Show in south China in November. The S80L, a long wheelbase version of the popular S80 sedan, has been locally tailored and specifically designed for the market in China. Furthermore, the Volvo S80L will be locally produced in China. The new design was unveiled by Dr. Alexander Klose, CEO of Volvo Car China, and marks the acceleration of Volvo's localization plan.
Powershift gearbox cuts fuel consumption by 8 percent
The two-litre turbodiesel versions of the Volvo S40, V50, C30 and C70 models are now also available with a fully-automatic transmission.
This new Powershift transmission is a six-speed unit and it significantly cuts fuel consumption compared with a conventional automatic transmission. Powershift gives the driver an automatic transmission that permits sequential gear changes, just like with Volvo's Geartronic transmission. The difference is that with Powershift even manual gear changes take place without any time or power losses. The Powershift transmission has been developed by Volvo Car Corporation in cooperation with its transmission partner Getrag.
Wide range of alternative fuels and technologies
Volvo Cars has one of the car market's broadest ranges of E85 models. All told, five models are on offer, each available with one or two Flexifuel (bioethanol) engines. In 2008, the Volvo V70 and Volvo S80 were introduced with a five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbocharged Flexifuel engine producing 200 hp (147 kW) and 300 Nm of torque. The Flexifuel variants of the Volvo S40, V50 and C30 have a four-cylinder 1.8-litre engine (1.8F) producing 125 hp (92 kW) and 165 Nm of torque. The newest Flexifuel market is Thailand, where Volvo offers C30 1.8F and S80 2.5FT. The Swedish market company competed in the 2008 Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC) with an E85 bioethanol-powered Volvo C30, and finished on 4th position. Further, Volvo Cars Sweden has commenced a cooperation with Gothenburg based supplier Alternative Fuel Vehicles, who will modify the V70 2.5FT to include also biogas/natural gas/hytan as an additional fuel for this model - a true multifuel vehicle. Multifuel Volvo vehicles are also under development or on offer in Italy, Germany and Switzerland by working with external suppliers.
The first pictures and details of the Volvo S60 Concept were released at the end of 2008, giving the automotive world a glimpse of what the all-new Volvo S60 will look like when it arrives in 2010. The coupe-inspired lines that gave the original S60 its characteristic stance are even more pronounced in the next generation. The S60 Concept also presents a ground-breaking safety innovation - Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and pedestrian detection. Also, Volvo Cars' Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) has now been upgraded with a queue assist function. The engine that Volvo Cars has chosen for the Volvo S60 Concept is a four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol unit using high-efficiency GTDi (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) technology and producing 180 horsepower. In addition to GTDi technology, the Volvo S60 Concept integrates technical features to bring CO2 emissions down to 119 g/km.
Stephen Odell appointed President and CEO
Stephen Odell was appointed President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation from 1 October 2008, succeeding Fredrik Arp. Before joining Volvo, Stephen Odell was Chief Operating Officer, Ford of Europe, responsible for product development, manufacturing, purchasing, and marketing, sales and service operations, and prior to that, he held several senior level positions at Mazda and Jaguar.
John Fleming new Chairman of the Board
On November 1, John Fleming was elected Chairman of the Board of Volvo Car Corporation, succeeding Lewis Booth.
Efficiency actions implemented globally
The financial crisis which spread around the world in 2008 created a rapidly deteriorating market situation in the global car industry. As a response to this development, the decision was taken to cancel the third shift in the Torslanda plant to balance production volumes to lower order levels. Further, global workforce was reduced by 4,600 people, including 1,200 consultants. The company was able to limit the redundancy numbers due to significantly reduced costs in other areas, such as supplier contracts, purchased services, IT and co-location of offices.
Going into 2009, Volvo Car Corporation had a total of 20,028 employees worldwide.
Also, a new organisation has been formed, merging various departments to achieve synergies and more efficient internal communication. The new setup means a flatter organisation and more of the strategic competencies will be moved in-house. In Manufacturing, the Best in Class project continues in order to achieve savings by increasing quality in the manufacturing chain. The Marketing and Sales organisation has introduced a new more efficient sales region structure and in Purchasing, synergies and product cost savings are in focus in close cooperation with suppliers.
Research and Development continues to be one of the core activities in Volvo Car Corporation, and the company will now focus research and development resources on CO2-related projects to accelerate the development of low emission products using a broad range of fuel saving technologies.
Volvo Cars of North America move headquarters; Doug Speck Appointed President of VCNA
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (VCNA) relocated its headquarters during 2008 to Rockleigh, New Jersey, where it currently has its customer care, parts and service operations. The relocation will make North American operations more efficient by bringing everyone together in one location, as well as bringing everyone three time zones closer to the Swedish headquarters. VCNA also announced the appointment of Doug Speck as President, effective March 7, replacing Anne Bélec.
During 2008, DRIVe was launched as a trademark for the continuous environmental work at Volvo Cars - not only CO2 and fuel consumption, but everything from production to recycling. It reflects the commitment to sustainable mobility and the drive towards zero emissions, and represents the promise for continued improvement.
Volvo Cars introduce aggressive roadmap for reducing CO2 emissions
Together with the introduction of three fuel-efficient DRIVe cars with CO2 emissions below 120 g, Volvo Cars unveiled an aggressive roadmap for cutting CO2 emissions. The aim is to have DRIVe models with emissions of about 100 g/km (3.8 l/100 km) within a few years. An innovative micro-hybrid will be introduced in 2011, followed a year later by a diesel hybrid. In 2011, Volvo customers will be able to buy a Volvo S60 with CO2 emissions below 120 g/km (4.5 l/100 km), a Volvo S80 that produces less than 130 g/km (4.9 l/100 km) and a Volvo XC60 below 140 g/km (5.3 l/100 km). All these variants will be diesel-powered. The big improvements in 2011 will be achieved not least with the so-called micro-hybrid that will be introduced in early 2011. When it comes to petrol engines, Volvo Cars will in 2009 start introducing a new generation of four-cylinder turbocharged engines with direct injection, a technology known as GTDi (Gas Turbo Direct injection). In the diesel hybrid that Volvo Cars is developing, the front wheels are driven by a further-developed variant of Volvo's five-cylinder D5 turbodiesel, while the rear wheels get a separate electric motor. The next step is a plug-in hybrid, which is scheduled to come after 2012.
5 models nominated for World Green Car of the Year award
The C30, S40 and V50 DRIVe models and the V70 2.5FT and S80 2.5 FT (bioethanol powered) have all been nominated for World Green Car of the Year 2009. The winner will be announced at the New York International Auto Show in April 2009.
New state-of-the-art wind tunnel gives Volvo buyers reduced CO2-emissions and lower fuel consumption
One of the world's most advanced wind tunnels is Volvo Cars' new tool in the quest for lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Volvo Car Corporation is the first car manufacturer to own a wind tunnel that fully simulates the airflow around and underneath the car's body, combined with wheel rotation on a flat road surface. This 20 Million Euro investment is already paying quick dividends, delivering a reduction of air resistance in the new Volvo C30 DRIVe by more than 10 percent. This in turn leads to around 3 grams lower CO2 emissions per kilometer.
All textiles in all Volvo models Oeko-Tex certified to be allergy-friendly
Volvo Cars is the only manufacturer in the car industry with a complete model range featuring textiles that are so clean that they are certified according to the Oeko-Tex standard. The textile standard was introduced at the beginning of the 1990s by textile research institutes as a response to the needs of consumers and the general public for textiles which posed no risk to health. The Volvo XC60 has been added to the list of cars recommended by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association for its good interior air quality. Four Volvo models are now featured in the association's list of recommended cars.
Climate-neutral electricity at Volvo
Since 1 January, 2008, Volvo Cars manufacturing units in Europe use only green electricity, hydropower. This is in line with the company's support of the development of climate neutral electricity production, and the latest step in making European manufacturing units climate neutral.
Safety being one of Volvo Cars' core values played an important role in 2008 when new innovative safety features were launched as well as announcing how Volvo aims to further strengthen our leadership in safety by striving towards zero accidents in the long term perspective.
Volvo Cars Safety Centre - where cars of the future are crashed - under new leadership
Hans Nyth became head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre in March. With a solid 35-year background at Volvo, Hans Nyth brings extensive experience from producing cars and design to his new position.
Volvo Cars aims for zero accidents
At Volvo Car Corporation, the vision is to design cars that should not crash. In the shorter perspective the aim is that by 2020 no-one should be killed or injured in a Volvo. Continuous research and enhancement of safety in and around our cars is essential for achieving a safer driver environment and a collision-free future. In this aim Volvo Car Corporation cooperate with authorities and other parties in the automotive industry.
Volvo Cars and the Swedish National Road Administration in joint offensive against traffic accidents
Volvo Car Corporation and the Swedish National Road Administration will work together to avoid or lessen the effects of road accidents. The Swedish National Road Administration has worked on its Vision Zero approach since 1997, while Volvo Car Corporation presented a vision in 2007 with the aim to design cars that do not crash. Ensuring a safe traffic environment requires cooperation between three main sectors: car manufacturers, drivers and the authorities responsible for roads and related infrastructure.
City Safety standard in the new Volvo XC60
The new Volvo XC60 was launched with City Safety - Volvo Cars' in-house developed unique technology for avoiding low-speed collisions in city traffic and tailbacks. City Safety in combination with the recently introduced Collision Warning with Auto Brake means that Volvo Cars now offer functions for auto-braking at all speeds. Surveys indicate that 75 percent of all reported collisions take place at speeds of up to 30 km/h. In 50 percent of all rear end collisions the driver has not braked at all before the collision, mainly due to distraction. In these cases, City Safety could make a crucial difference. City Safety brakes the car automatically if the driver is about to drive into the vehicle in front. A collision can either thus be entirely avoided or if this is not possible, damage to cars and personal injuries can be reduced. City Safety is of considerable interest to insurance institutes, and insurance companies on many markets are cutting premiums by up to 30 percent for anyone who insures a Volvo XC60.
Volvo Cars launches new Alcoguard to help reduce the number of alcohol-related road accidents
Volvo Cars was the first car manufacturer to launch an innovative feature aimed at helping to reduce the number of road accidents caused by drink-driving. Alcoguard is a fully integrated in-car alco lock that utilises advanced fuel-cell technology, a solution that is both user-friendly and reliable. Alcoguard is a tool whose purpose is to help the driver make sober decisions. At present, one in every three traffic fatalities in Europe is alcohol-related. Our three biggest challenges for creating a safer traffic environment are speeding, insufficient safety belt use and drink-driving. The aim of the Alcoguard system is to help reduce the number of accidents caused by vehicles with a drunk driver at the wheel.
Volvo Cars receives highest rating for its unique whiplash protection
EuroNCAP has instituted a new assessment protocol for evaluating the degree of whiplash protection offered by passenger cars in rear-end collisions. The Volvo XC60 was one of the few models to receive the highest rating. For the first time, EuroNCAP is now conducting tests in order to rate the whiplash protection offered by cars. Twenty-five cars were tested in the initial round. The XC60, with Volvo's unique Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), was one of five cars to receive the highest rating.
VOLVO OCEAN RACE
The 2008-09 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race started in Alicante, Spain on 11 October 2008 and is scheduled to finish in St. Petersburg on 27 June 2009, following a 37,000 nautical mile lap of the planet. For the first time, the race is visiting Asia, with stopovers in Cochin, India, Singapore, and Qingdao, China.
The Volvo Ocean Race is the ultimate mix of world class sporting competition and cutting-edge adventure, with a tradition dating back 35 years. Eight international teams of 10 sailors, plus one dedicated media crew member, are competing in 10 offshore legs, along with seven in-port races. Scoring points are accumulated through each stage of the race to determine the overall winner.
For every race, there is a Volvo Ocean Race edition of cars. This year's edition is available for the Volvo XC90, Volvo XC70 and V70. These cars come in either Ocean Blue or Electric Silver, with interiors full of details that are inspired by the race and the nautical world. Sales of the Volvo Ocean Race edition cars are expected to reach 8,500 units.
In response to the strong growth of film and video communication on the internet, Volvo Car Corporation has launched its own YouTube channel. The "Volvo Cars News" channel will carry everything from commercials and PR productions to television documentary material. The aim is to offer visitors worthwhile, enjoyable films about the latest products, and also to take them behind the scenes at Volvo Cars.
New car building tool online
The third generation of the car building tool "Build your Volvo" was introduced in 2008, and in a test by a leading Swedish car magazine, the updated tool was placed first among ten auto companies tested. The visualisation of the cars is greatly improved as is the integration of the tool, from all aspects, with Volvo Cars product information system, to enable a comparison of technical data, pricing and different options available. With the new tool, the customer can create his/her own inquiry/offer and present it to the dealer.
Highly rated Internal Communication
Volvo Cars global in-house magazine, Agenda Magazine, was awarded Best multi-language publication at FEIEA Grand Prix 2008 for the second year running. FEIEA is the Federation of European Business Communicators' Association. In addition, Agenda Magazine was awarded the Swedish Publishing award 2008 as the best national in-house magazine. Agenda Magazine has been nominated five consecutive years and has won the award four times.
US - Traffic Safety Achievement Award for City Safety (World Traffic Safety Symposium)
Russia - Golden Salamander for Safety (Finance World Insurance company)
UK - City Safety for World First Technology (Fleet World Honours1)
Thailand - Best Advanced Technology Award (Car of the Year jury)
Thailand - Best Environmental Car of the Year (Post Today)
UK - Unique load-anchoring system (Power of Aluminium Awards)
Germany - Auto Trophy 2008 (Auto Zeitung)
Ireland - SUV Crossover of the Year (Irish Motoring Writers Association)
Austria - Auto Revue Award (Car Awards Group of Motoring Journalists)
France - Innovation for Safety (L'Automobile Magazine)
Russia - Car of the Year (Car of the Year jury)
Philippines - Best Luxury Crossover & Wagon 4WD (Car Awards Group of Motoring Journalists)
Philippines - Best safety features (Auto Focus People's Choice Award)
Russia - SUV of the Year (Club 4x4)
Thailand - Best Luxury SUV (Car of the Year jury)
India - Car of the Year for Best Safety Technology (TV channel NDTV)
Malaysia - Good Design Award (New Straits Times)
Brazil - Best Purchase (Quatro Rodas Magazine)
United States - Interior Design Award (Ward's AutoWorld)
United States - All Star Award (Automobile Magazine)
Russia - Best Convertible (Golden Klaxon)