DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT
"GOOD DESIGN IS NOT ONLY A MATTER OF STYLING THE SURFACE. IT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT TO MAKE THE PRODUCT EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND USE. IF THE PRODUCT IS NOT FUNCTIONAL, IT CAN'T BE BEAUTIFUL."
(Volvo Car Corporation's design philosophy)
The product strategy of Volvo Cars is based on a common technical co-ordination that makes it possible to use the same basic concept to produce a wide range of car models.
This approach started with the Volvo S80, launched in 1998.
Crash safety, emissions, fuel consumption, durability, in-car climate, aerodynamics etc. are tested in specialised laboratories. Many tests and product design are carried out in virtual reality using highly sophisticated computers, which results in greater precision and less development time.
Testing takes place at Volvo Car's proving grounds in the south and northernmost parts of Sweden and also in Phoenix, Arizona.
To minimise the environmental impact of the cars, use is made of the EPS (Environmental Priority Strategies) analysis tool, which shows how a given component affects the environment throughout its lifetime. To ensure quality, a new product development system was introduced in 2001, based on a series of "gates" that every new car project has to pass before it can proceed further to the next stage of product development.
Almost 3,800 employees work on research and product development and process enhancement at the Volvo Cars technical centre in Gothenburg.
Volvo's cars possess a distinctive design, which has its roots in the heritage and the Scandinavian design tradition - with the aspiration of combining classical timelessness with human functionalism and high technology.
Volvo Cars has three international design centres, with about 200 employees at various places worldwide: in Gothenburg, Camarillo (California) and Barcelona.