This year at the Detroit Auto Show, we showed our XC60 Plug-In Hybrid to North American Journalists, then took it to Washington, D.C. mainly for governmental people and to show during the public days. I think what was most impressive was how this technology is like a movable feast.
Since 1992 with introduction of 850, the idea has been to build a common engine mounting structure with capabilities to use different engine combinations with different model lines – thereby minimizing component requirements. It’s similar to when we put a 4 cylinder into C30 for European markets and then a 5 cylinder here in the U.S. “No sheet metal was harmed” engine swap.
The first time I saw the 850 engine cradle, well there went my days of pulling an engine up and out, now it was down and out, and no way was I attempting that. Besides, about the only reason to work on one of our aluminum (grey) engines was for more hp. Does anyone remember our green engines?
So with PHEV technology, we can basically have one engine family that is transferable to other models. It’s a good way to create market flexibility and help keep costs in line. XC60 is very interesting. We should know in a couple of years what it will be for our market.
This video gives a brief idea of what our largest U.S. auto show is like. Arne Akerberg only tells half of what goes on. He mentions 20 shipping containers – that’s 20 of those monster sea containers and inside are more wooden crates. The containers are shipped to a remote storage place and the wooden crates are stacked out behind the Detroit Convention Center. It is like that last scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Every year we pretty much have the same VCC crew come over to set up everything. The computer guys are amazing. Their room is stuffed with power systems, TV support and lighting controls. When they are finished, most are finally taking a break. Good people and great support when needed. Our food service people have also been with us for a rather long time. Good to see familiar faces while in Detroit.
danPosted in Auto Shows, Detroit Auto Show | 2 Comments »
The first ever international debut of a Volvo car in North America was our C70 Convertible. Never before were we given the responsibility to put an event this important together out of our HQ in NJ. It went perfectly. Peter Horbury did an awesome job explaining about his new design and where our future would take us.
So that night, being in very high spirits, and with a few media friends who had no place to go for dinner, we went out for pasta. I think we started with martinis in beer mugs and then some pasta, hard to remember, and never duplicated. But the following year, those friends asked if we were doing it again…”No way but if you want to join us for dinner, come along.”
Over the years this “if you have no place to go for dinner, no agenda on our part just that we all need to eat dinner” started to bring more into the fold. Rather than a formal corporate dinner we enjoy very good hamburgers and fries at Elwood Bar and Grill in Detroit proper. This year, my mistake, we booked the night before the press day. As it turned out BMW booked the same place the following night. This is true:
Poking the Poachers
Volvo held its media dinner the last two years on the first press day of the auto show at Detroit’s historic Elwood Bar and Grill. It wasn’t a big deal that this year’s event was held one night earlier, on Sunday. But here’s the back story: Months ago, competitor BMW snuck in early and signed a contract for the Monday night party slot at the Elwood.
Mildly chagrined, Volvo PR honcho Geno Effler grabbed a piece of chalk on Sunday night and scribbled these words on the Elwood’s menu board, so the BMW staff arriving a day later would see what specials will be served: “Volvo Leftovers.”
Asked later why he felt it necessary to write this greeting, Effler takes a jab at the Bavarians for swiping the prime night at the 75-year-old burger joint. “Sometimes, you have to poke the poachers.”
No word on whether BMW folks found any humor in the message. We suggest for next year, the Elwood should schedule both auto makers on the same night, so they can settle the spat with an old fashioned food fight.
So a good end to a rather good week. Sales are up in the U.S. and Canada, more S60′s are arriving, and spring is suppose to be here shortly.
danPosted in Detroit Auto Show | Comments Off
I’m at this year’s North America International Auto Show in (really cold) Detroit, where on Tuesday we will unveil a crash tested Volvo C30 DRIVe Electric, the world’s first showing of safety in an electric car.
Our focus is to bring the same kind of safety engineering leadership we do with all our cars into our EV program. Yeah, I know, “Isn’t that what you are suppose to do?” While dealing with an electric power system, the concept of passenger and first responder (fire/police/EMT) protection is the same, but the execution is different. The challenge is, and will continue to be, to protect people in an accident regardless of what kind of engine we use.
I’ll post some video when I can figure out how to stuff a 20 meg file into a 2 meg hole.
DanPosted in C30, crash test, Detroit Auto Show, Environment, news, safety, Technology | 5 Comments »