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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Volvo's NA CEO Talks About Care By Volvo Hiccups, What's Next

      Used cars anyone?

    Care By Volvo was one of the first new car subscription services to launch. It offered a buyer an XC40 with a yearly allowance of 15,000 miles; maintenance, insurance, and a concierge service for either $600 or $700 per month for 24 months. But the service had some hiccups with various issues dealing with paperwork and not hearing back from dealers. 

    "The process was very, very stretched. We have learned that the process needs to be smoother, and also the process related to insurance and all the rules in all the states in this beautiful country ... we have learned a lot," said Volvo's North American CEO, Anders Gustafsson to Roadshow.

    A key example is having a larger stockpile of vehicles allocated for subscribers. The entire Care by Volvo allotment of XC40s sold out in four months, causing Volvo to push deliveries of new XC40s through the service till next year. Gustafsson admits Care By Volvo is "far away from where we would like to be." But he believes the S60, the next vehicle to be offered through the service will be much smoother.

    Roadshow also asked Gustafsson what's next for Care By Volvo. He revealed that it could be used cars.

    A used-car subscription service "is probably 50 percent of the questions that we receive from our customers and from our retailers," said Gustafsson.

    As for when something like this could appear, Gustafsson said it could happen within a year.

    Source: Roadshow



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    Still not sold on this kind of service, but I guess for someone that wants a new auto every year or two it works. For used auto's this makes no sense to me. Auto's depreciate so fast and as things get broken you have a mess for used auto's. No one seems to take care of their auto's like me so I would not be interested in a used auto subscription service. FAILED CONCEPT IMHO.

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    You can lease a Volvo XC40 T5 Momentum for $415 a month.  Insurance is about $80 a month.  So does Volvo believe that maintenance on a new car under warranty is $205 per month?

    Only way this service makes sense is it was unlimited milage and a person who travels for work or drive Uber full time and puts 40,000 miles a year on the car could abuse the heck out of the thing and hand it back after a year.

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    These Subscription services are still too expensive.  I imagine they're trying to turn a profit on reselling insurance and that is one thing that is driving up costs.   

    The only good thing I see about this is the ability to "unsubscribe" almost any time you want after the first year... but I would be swapping out the car as many times as I was allowed just beacuse I'm allowed. 

    These Subscription services are still too expensive.  I imagine they're trying to turn a profit on reselling insurance and that is one thing that is driving up costs.   

    The only good thing I see about this is the ability to "unsubscribe" almost any time you want after the first year... but I would be swapping out the car as many times as I was allowed just beacuse I'm allowed. 

    What I don't get is why the manufacturers want to get into the insurance business. Getting out of their core comfort zones usually leads to poor results. 

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      Make: Volvo
      Model: S60
      Trim: T5 Momentum
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,500
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      Curb Weight: 3,657 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ridgeville, SC 
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      Make: Volvo
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    • By William Maley
      Rarely, do I get the chance to drive different versions of the same model. The fleet companies I work with scheduling vehicles do their best to serve up a smorgasbord of vehicles for me to experience. But from time to time, things happen where one vehicle in a run has to be swapped because it needs to go home or is required for an important event. It happened to be that the stars aligned in such a way that two Volvo 60 series models would be swapped for various vehicles in this go around. So I found myself with an S60 Momentum one week and a V60 Cross Country another week.
      A prime opportunity to experience two different takes on the same model.
      Design: Same and Different
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      The V60 Cross Country certainly looks the part of an off-road wagon with a three-inch lift to the suspension, body cladding along the side, different grille color, and new wheel choices. Around back, Volvo takes some ideas from their crossovers with the tailgate being similar in design to XC40 and XC60, and the tall L-shaped headlights. Out of the two, I found myself liking the V60 Cross Country more than the S60.
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      Non-Sensus-ical Infotainment
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      Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard and does make Sensus slightly easier to use. But I think some real improvements will come when the next version of Sensus comes out that will be based on Google’s Android platform. I’m also hoping for some more redundant controls such as a fan knob or temperature buttons.
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      A Smooth Ride Is Here, Provided You Have the Right Wheels
       
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      Two Good Models, But One Stands Tall
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      Between the two, I found myself being more impressed with the V60 Cross Country. It has more character in its design compared to the S60 and the ride is much more comfortable. The almost $57,000 price-tag is a bit much, but with some smart optioning, you can make it much more reasonable. As for the S60, I did find it to be quite a decent steer. But the ride does need some work when on the larger wheels. Also, the Momentum can get quite expensive if you go overboard with options. My tester carried a nearly $46,000 price tag, three-grand more than the T5 versions of the R-Design and Inscription which come with some of the optional features as standard.
      The S60 and V60 Cross Country are excellent alternatives to the usual suspects, just be careful on the options.
      How I would configure them:
      There are two different ways I would go configuring an S60.
      Value: Start with the Momentum T5 at $36,050 and add Heated Front Seats & Steering Wheel ($750) and Premium Package ($2,050) to end up with a nicely equipped S60 at $39,845. You will miss out on some items such as the 360’ camera system, pilot assist, and Harman Kardon audio system, but that pushes the price to over $44,000. Sport: An R-Design T6 fits the bill here and comes with all-wheel drive as standard for a price of $48,045. Decide which metallic paint you would like ($645) or stick with the basic black. Add on the Advanced Package and Heated Rear Seats and Steering Wheel to end up with a final price tag of $51,645 for black or $52,290 for any of the metallic colors. For the V60 Cross Country, it would be similar to my test vehicle with most of the option packages and adding the Harman Kardon Premium Sound system ($800) to bring the final price to $52,795.
      Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the S60 and V60; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Volvo
      Model: S60
      Trim: T5 Momentum
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/34/27
      Curb Weight: 3,657 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ridgeville, SC 
      Base Price: $36,050
      As Tested Price: $46,249 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Package - $2,500.00
      Premium Package - $2,050.00
      Multimedia Package - $1,850.00
      19" 5-Spoke Cut Wheels - $800.00
      Heated Front Seats & Heated Steering Wheel Package - $750.00
      Pebble Grey Metallic - $645.00
      Linear Lime Deco Inlay and Interior High Level Illumination - $600.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Volvo
      Model: V60
      Trim: Cross Country
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 4,202 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gothenburg, Sweden
      Base Price: $45,100
      As Tested Price: $56,990 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound - $4,000.00
      Cross Country Pro Package - $2,800.00
      Advanced Package - $2,500.00
      Heated Front Seats & Heated Steering Wheel Package - $750.00
      Birch Light Metallic - $645.00
      Park Assist Pilot - $200.00
    • By William Maley
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      “Cash for clunkers was very effective at that time. It would be nice to think we could have something equally as effective for 2020 when we get out of this because it was a great program.”
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      When asked by Automotive News about this, Ford spokeswoman Rachel McCleery said, "The auto industry is America’s economic engine.We are encouraging Congress to look at a variety of ways to drive job creation, increase demand, support customers and provide long-term stability for the entire auto ecosystem."
      A brief refresher on the Cash for Clunkers program. In 2009, the U.S. Government introduced a billion initiative called the Car Allowance Rebate System, which gave a voucher worth between $2,900 and $4,500 to anyone replacing a vehicle newer than 1984. Their old vehicle would be taken away and disposed of. The program was nicknamed Cash for Clunkers.
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      "...the effect of the program on auto purchases is almost completely reversed by as early as March 2010 — only seven months after the program ended.”
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      There's also the question of how many perfectly good used cars were taken off the road due to the program.
      Source: Bloomberg via Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Drive, The Truth About Cars

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The COVID-19 pandemic has basically brought most of the world to halt. Orders to stay at home, businesses either having workers to their work from home or closing down, and unemployment skyrocketing is causing the economy to crater. There are efforts to try and jump-start the economy such as $1,200 stimulus checks. But an executive at Ford wants to see a return of a "cash for clunkers" like program.
      “We think some level of stimulus somewhere on the other side of this would help not only the auto industry and our dealers, which are a huge part of our overall economy, but will help the customers as well,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service to Bloomberg.
      “Cash for clunkers was very effective at that time. It would be nice to think we could have something equally as effective for 2020 when we get out of this because it was a great program.”
      According to LaNeve, internal discussions are taking place at Ford about doing a similar program and there are plans to bring the Government in to these talks.
      When asked by Automotive News about this, Ford spokeswoman Rachel McCleery said, "The auto industry is America’s economic engine.We are encouraging Congress to look at a variety of ways to drive job creation, increase demand, support customers and provide long-term stability for the entire auto ecosystem."
      A brief refresher on the Cash for Clunkers program. In 2009, the U.S. Government introduced a billion initiative called the Car Allowance Rebate System, which gave a voucher worth between $2,900 and $4,500 to anyone replacing a vehicle newer than 1984. Their old vehicle would be taken away and disposed of. The program was nicknamed Cash for Clunkers.
      On the surface, the program was a success. Within first month, all of the funds were exhausted. This prompted the U.S. congress infuse an addition two billion into the program, which would be all gone within 17 days. But begin to look deeper and the results are mixed. In 2012, a study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics described the program as being a bit of a wash,
      "...the effect of the program on auto purchases is almost completely reversed by as early as March 2010 — only seven months after the program ended.”
      Other studies have come to the same conclusion.
      There's also the question of how many perfectly good used cars were taken off the road due to the program.
      Source: Bloomberg via Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Drive, The Truth About Cars
    • By William Maley
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      "The North American International Auto Show is officially canceled. TCF is working with FEMA to use the center to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak," said North.
      Ford and General Motors also confirmed the cancellation to The Detroit News.
      Michigan is becoming one of the hardest hit states with COVID-19. State officials announced today that there are 4,650 confirmed cases and 111 deaths linked to COVID-19. Wayne County, where the show takes place has the highest numbers of the state - 2,316 confirmed cases and 46 deaths.
      This was going to be a big year for the Detroit Auto Show with the move to the summer. Plans included rides and drives; an off-road course, and demonstration of autonomous vehicles.
      Source: Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, WXYZ

      View full article
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