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Volvo Cars is more than just about its Scandinavian designs and safety systems, says Julian as he heads to Sweden to experience the brand first-hand.

19 Dec 2022

When I say experiencing the Volvo brand first-hand, it's not about car ownership here. It's a tad more than that.

You see, after travelling close to 10,000km and spending five days in the blistering cold of -7 degrees Celsius, I've come to realise that the Volvo brand is a rather proud carmaker that doesn't believe it needs to change who it is to get into the positive opinions of the public. Rather, Volvo reckons the key to success is about selling who it is.

So who is Volvo then?

Volvo is going all out to be a sustainable carmaker, and the recently unveiled Volvo EX90 shows that
And you don't need to spend the full five days with the brand to see just how much it is doing to be a responsible company. Phrases and words like "social responsibility", "climate neutral" as well as "sustainability" are often mentioned from high level executives. And while other companies often throw such terms and ideas around with reckless abandon, Volvo Cars is justifying itself by showcasing what it has done and what it plans to do, at least in the next decade or so.

To a certain extent, you'll have to give it to the Swede carmaker. From working on being a climate neutral company by 2040 to being a leader in ethical and responsible business - not to mention targeting to sell only electrified vehicles by 2030 - Volvo prides itself in doing the right things and making the right decisions.

For those who didn't know, Volvo was the one who invented the three-point safety belt
It's a little more than just a marketing gimmick, methinks. For instance, from sourcing of sustainable materials for the all new all-electric Volvo EX90 and working on strategies to improve the performance of batteries to working on a better online experience for its customers and targeting for consumers to experience price parity between ICE and EV models by 2025, the Swede carmaker is certainly being transparent with the world on how it did things, what it's doing now and what its plans are for the future.

Think about it, the brand could have earned so much more money and placed itself way ahead of the pack in the motoring world had it not gifted the world with its V-type three-point safety belt - an invention that literally saved millions of lives. At that time, in 1959, Volvo was already carving out a space in a competitive industry by ensuring that safety was a core part of its brand when it was merely an afterthought for many other carmakers.

More than just being safe

Volvo aims to have all its plants be climate neutral by 2025
Perhaps that's why safety has always been strongly associated with the Volvo brand. It's an inevitable notion, a way of life, if I may, and it's certainly one aspect that will stay for a long time.

But more than just being safe, it's also about being sustainable with the carmaker. Volvo is targeting to have all its plants be climate neutral by 2025. This will include getting energy from cleaner sources such as solar panels in the United States as well as China and to rethink how energy is consumed in these plants.

For instance, according to Javier Varela, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO, the brand will implement change in processes, have smart layouts and reflect on how its employees consume electricity. According to him, Volvo is even considering moving cars to electric ovens when it comes to paintjobs, since it'll be powered by electricity rather than gas.

Javier Varela smiles as he confidently mentions about the strategy to improve the performance of batteries in Volvo's electrified lineup
Such an ability and a strong sense of responsibility to realise that the brand itself is part of the problem and ensuring that steps are taken to solve sustainability issues are exactly what make Volvo a unique carmaker - one that chases ideals and one that believes in making a difference.

It's anything but boring

However, as unique as Volvo is, some will still lament about how boring its cars can be. But if you can search it within yourself to look beyond that, you'll realise Volvo cars aren't as colourless and unexciting as people deem them to be. After all, a carmaker that has lasted 95 years in the industry must be doing something right, and most certainly something valuable.

Bjorn Annwall says that core of the Volvo brand isn't sports cars but value-based
As Bjorn Annwall, Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy CEO, said, "Volvo will never be boring, but it'll never be a boyracer either. We can be exciting in other ways. If you want to feel proud and entertained, Volvo is the one. But a two-door coupe from Volvo isn't going to happen anytime soon. The core of the brand isn't sports cars but value-based. We're selling who we are and not changing who we are."

So the next time you see a Volvo on the road, know that it's a proud and bold carmaker that doesn't believe it needs to change who it is to get into the positive opinions of the public. Rather, the key to success is about selling who it is. Will it last another 95 years?

Only time will tell...

Want to know more about Volvo? Here are some other stories you might be interested in:

Volvo C40 Recharge is a seamless EV experience

Volvo XC40 Recharge remains to be a delight

Volvo EX90: Everything you have to know about it

Volvo C40 Recharge: Selling and not changing

Volvo XC60 B5 is now more driver-friendly

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