Open Road

Volvo: From tech superiority, to sub-brand minority, to safety priority, to design authority

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a brand called Volvo. This brand was born in Sweden in the beginning of the past century. This brand had technical superiority amongst its peers. Volvo started by making trucks and transportation machinery and moved on to making planes and fighter jets before starting to make cars. But when it did, it wanted the cars to be tough and safe to cope with the harsh environment of Sweden. So, it did, and in the process, it became the leading authority on safety in cars (the three-pointed seatbelt, disc brakes and power-assisted brakes, energy-absorbing crumple zones). The brand perception was very positive and strong. It was the brand to have – the car to own if you were looking for the best.

Then the financial gremlins started. The once-great Volvo had to succumb and it got sold to Ford. What Ford did to Volvo, like the other premium brands that Ford acquired at the time, was bundled it with its Premier Automotive Group, alongside Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin. That move had mixed consequences on Volvo, as it had to share components from the big parts bin of Ford which led to the dilution of a once-strong standalone brand.

But even under Ford, Volvo still rode its strong safety horse to great heights. With the introduction of its first-ever SUV, Volvo now had a new strong child to compete in the heated SUV market, and with its ever-growing reputation for safety now solidified, nevertheless, the brand limped on only because it was misunderstood and because of the confused relation with its parent (it wasn't the best time for the car industry in the USA).

And now under new management and with new parents who have decided to let their child stretch his legs and run unhindered by excessive interference, Volvo today seems poised for great things to come from its stables. So far we have seen the groundbreaking large SUV and now the soon to be released breathtaking large sedan, all with amazing interiors proving the superiority of Swedish design. So we do expect great things to come from Volvo. We also expect it to regain its earlier reputation and retrieve the crown that it once wore.

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