David Hutz, 30, of Herndon, VA, and six other finalists were flown to Abaco Island in the Bahamas, where they competed in a group of Survivor-style challenges to complete the search. David was awarded the SUV after he had determined what its ultimate location was. Thankfully for him, he didn't need to dig it up himself. Assistants handled those duties on his behalf.
The V8-powered, movie-themed Volvo is valued at $82,000 and sports 20-inch custom wheels, a full Pirates of the Caribbean graphics package, black leather seating, a quad-tip Borla exhaust system, and numerous other upgrades. After learning that he was the winner, Hutz announced that he'd be giving the car to his wife, who will undoubtedly get right to work removing its way-over-the-top pirate graphics.
No need to fret for the other six finalists, when Volvo, in a surprise move, awarded each of them a new vehicle as well. Happy faces were all 'round.
Volvo was likely in a good mood, seeing as the contest drew very high interest from people around the world. The U.S. alone produced 52,000 participants, several of whom used Autoblog's comments section to share and trade info as they tried to solve the hunt's puzzles. As marketing efforts go, it's hard to think of this one as anything less than a resounding success.
If you just can't get enough of the hunt, Volvo will post Webisodes documenting the competition on August 25.
VIRGINIA MAN DIGS UP BURIED VOLVO IN WORLDWIDE TREASURE HUNT FOR BURIED SUV
In a surprise twist, Volvo awards all seven- pirate finalists with an amazing treasure: a new Volvo vehicle of their own
Event part of Volvo's promotional tie-in to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest; visit www.volvocars.us/thehunt
(Abaco Island, Bahamas) August 10, 2006 - Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg! Hear me now, scallywags, the treasure's done been found! David Hutz, a 30 year-old man from Herndon, Va., yesterday reached true pirate status when he uncovered a buried Volvo XC90 V8 SUV in the Islands of the Bahamas after a challenging two month global, multi-media treasure hunt for the vehicle that Volvo Car Corporation secretly hid as part of its sponsorship of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
David Hutz a computer programmer from Herndon, Va. competed in a grueling, clue-filled search conducted by foot, boat, motor vehicle and helicopter in a competition reminiscent of reality TV shows. Upon completion of the race, he announced that he will be giving the car to his wife, Sheila Hutz. He was joined by six other finalists who also reached the final leg of the search, including two others from the United States as well as from Japan, United Kingdom, Spain and Austria.
Volvo surprises each finalist with new vehicle
The treasure hunt's biggest surprise came when Volvo announced that all seven finalists would walk away with booty even Captain Jack Sparrow would be proud of: a new Volvo vehicle.
These individuals were the first among their respective nations to complete a fun, yet challenging, online treasure hunt presented by Volvo that launched on June 12, concluded four weeks later and elicited 52,000 participants in the U.S. alone. They arrived on the Islands of the Bahamas earlier this week unaware of the location of the final leg until their aircraft landed.
The seven competed in a series of mental and physical challenges on the islands that either eliminated them from competition or advanced them to the buried vehicle. After Hutz determined the final location, assistants dug up the $82,000 Volvo and presented him with the keys. Volvo also surprised the other finalists with keys to a new Volvo at the conclusion of the hunt.
Individuals worldwide will have a view all the excitement of the historic hunt when Volvo premieres a series of Webisodes chronicling the Hunt at www.volvocars.us/thehunt on August 25.
Other finalists in the Hunt included:
•Jenny Buckalew, 35, Newnan, Ga.
•James Hutz, 57, Carefree, Ariz.
•Karl Lloyd, 33, Surrey, England
•Susanne Kalintsch, 44, Trieben, Austria
•Akihiro Horibe, 36, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
•Jose Luis Dominguez Monge, 31, Valladolid, Spain
The buried one-of-a-kind, Volvo XC90 features a variety of elements inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean, including menacing graphics from the film, black leather seats, custom painted 20 inch wheels and more.
"While it would have been a lot of fun to watch Captain Jack Sparrow cruise the Caribbean Islands in this summer's Pirates of the Caribbean, it just didn't make sense," said Anne Bélec, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars of North America. "So, we sought a more creative way to celebrate our partnership with Disney, and we think it's been a phenomenal success for Volvo and we hope a lot of fun for would-be pirates worldwide, particularly these seven finalists."
Volvo's promotion of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest grew out of the partnership with Disney for the worldwide Volvo Ocean Race. The Volvo ship bears the name of the same boat in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, "The Black Pearl." The Ocean Race began in Vigo, Spain on Nov. 12, 2005 and ended in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 17, 2006.
Other official sponsors in the Pirates of the Caribbean film will be participating in the final leg. Zizzle Toys will be providing each of the finalists with a $350 Pirates of the Caribbean toy package. Kodak will also be donating to finalists digital cameras upon their arrival at the final destination.
About Volvo Cars of North America
Volvo has been building cars with Safety in mind for over 75 years. The current 2006 model line-up of Volvo Cars includes: the award-winning new S40 and its wagon counterpart the all-new V50; the award-winning XC90; the sporty S60 sedan – including the award-winning performance sedan – S60 R and the performance wagon version – V70 R; the S80 luxury sedan; the versatile V70 wagon and rugged XC70 (Cross Country); and the soon-to-be released new Volvo C70, the convertible with the innovative retractable hardtop.