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Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center

Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center


November 14, 2007 (Camarillo, CA) - Twenty years ago a small team of innovative design, technology and business thinkers from Volvo were sent to California and charged with developing groundbreaking automobile concepts and products. Their consortium was appropriately named the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center (VMCC). The goal was to tap into the constantly changing, trend setting backdrop of California and look for concepts in new places, put together smart ideas and turn them into action. The major founders were Dan Werbin and Hans Gustavsson. They had the vision of a think tank long before most other car companies.


"The aim was to retain our Scandinavian distinctiveness while listening carefully and finding out all about our consumers' technical requirements. An embryo was established already in the beginning of the 70ies. In those days our cars didn't have power windows, cruise control and air-conditioning - things that American car buyers were used to. They shouldn't have to suffer because they had chosen a European car, so it was up to us to adapt our cars to suit them," said Dan Werbin, who was then appointed to head Volvo Product Engineering & Development in New Jersey, to help carve out the right niche for Volvo in the North American market.


The VMCC was set up in 1986. "The Roger Rabbit film was being made at around that time, and we thought that if you can animate humans, you should be able to do the same with cars. A few years later, we were designing cars on computer. Today, all car makers are doing the same" says Hans Gustavsson, a former head of R&D at Volvo Cars.


"There are four main reasons for the centre's success. Its vision and direction were clear from the outset: its good leaders: its talented staff who have identified with Volvo from a Californian perspective and stayed on: and finally its committed board. Most of the Volvos we see on the roads today have originated at VMCC" says Dan Werbin.


Twenty years later VMCC has achieved enormous success through its vision of helping Volvo cars grow in today's competitive market. As part of its plan VMCC developed a solutions-driven approach by integrating business, design and technology skills that set it apart from other California-based styling studios of its competitors. VMCC's success is based upon a holistic approach to design that involves making sense of the myriad of technological, social, demographic, environmental, brand and design trends currently shaping society.


This pioneering approach to designing a new car, which starts with monitoring information about what trends may influence how the world looks in 10, 20 or 30 years, has resulted in a series of tangible vehicles. VMCC is credited with new developments in alternative fuels and advanced body structure prototypes including the highly-regarded Environmental Concept Car (ECC) and the Volvo Safety Concept Car (SCC). The latter design inspired Volvo's newest production model, the C30.


The following timeline demonstrates how the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center (VMCC) has succeeded as an automotive think tank fulfilling its mission to "create, cultivate and realize innovative ideas for emotional products that beautifully express the future of the Volvo soul."


  • 1986 Volvo Cars Monitoring and Concept Center is founded as one of the first of its kind in California. Its mission is to bring together design, business and technology to produce innovative car concepts.
  • 1987 VMCC underscores its lust for innovative approaches by beginning to employ Alias software to digitally model their designs. As one of its earliest adopters, Volvo Cars helped pioneer and develop the use of Alias in the auto industry and remains a leader in simulations design and engineering.
  • 1988 As a further demonstration of its innovation commitment, VMCC becomes the first car concept center in California to use SLA (stereo lithography technology) for making small scale models of both cars and components.
  • 1992 VMCC unveils Volvo's Environmental Concept Car (ECC), which receives acclaim from around the world for its groundbreaking approach to integrating advanced drive train technology and design, with a focus on the customer, into an extremely desirable and environmentally friendly product for the future. It becomes a preview of a new form of Volvo language.
  • 1995 A VMCC design proposal for the luxurious Volvo S80 sedan is chosen for its stylish and exciting design building further upon the flowing form of the ECC.
  • 1997 Volvo Cars chooses the exterior and interior design for the Volvo S60 developed by VMCC. The S60 goes on to become Volvo's best selling car.
  • 1999 XC90 (Volvo Cars first SUV) exterior design developed at VMCC is selected.
  • 2000 Forging ahead with its visionary concept, VMCC introduces another winning concept - Volvo Car's Safety Concept Car (SCC). The SCC was called the "undoubtedly most intelligent car" at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show by Automobile magazine, and was named Concept Car of the Year. The SCC was the inspiration for the C30.
  • 2001 C70 design developed at VMCC is chosen for production.
  • 2005 Volvo Cars selects a VMCC design proposal for a new car that will enter the market in the near future.
Technology, Design
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