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Keep in Touch with Your Volvo using a Mobile app

From now on, your friends aren’t the only with whom you can stay in touch. Your Volvo car has recently announced to become a kind of a fellow that you can check on from time to time. How is this possible? By using Volvo’s mobile application: after downloading to the smartphone, the owner of the car can start communicate with its vehicle, control some of its functions and features and even download some trip information.

This is what this application does:
- it locates your car and uses a digital compass to point the driver in the right direction, and, if wanted, can activate the car horn or indicators.
- it remotely locks and unlocks the car, and it displays the status of the doors and windows.
- it gives full access to car dashboard, which means that the driver can check the fuel level, remaining range to empty tank, the average fuel consumption, the average speed, odometer and trip meter reading.
- it quick checks the car: bulbs, brake fluid level, coolant level, engine oil level, engine oil pressure.
- it registers each trip from the last 40 days, which can be then downloaded as an Excel file.
- it provides basic information about the car, such as model, registration number and VIN number.
- it alerts the driver via smartphone whenever the car alarm is triggered.

Actually, this application is an extension of Volvo On Call which offers assistance in case of accidents and emergencies. Unfortunately, the free download will be available only for the owners of 2012 model year Volvos.

What do you think about Volvo’s mobile app?

[Source: Whatcar, Photo]


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Volvo Plans On Building New Factory In China

You probably know by now that China has one of the fastest growing automotive markets in the world and more manufacturers are either building new factories or forming alliances with other companies that are already established in the country, in their search of grabbing more and more customers.

Volvo is about to do the same thing as at a press conference held yesterday in Beijing, the Chinese-owned Volvo Cars revealed its plans to construct a new factory in Chengdu and will continue investigations for a second plant in Daqing, located in NE China. The automaker said that the deal is still pending approval from the local government.

The aforementioned Chengdu factory will manufacture only Volvo cars and will have an initial output of about 100,000 cars per year and the production is estimated to start sometime in 2013. The automaker said that this decision to expand in the Chinese market will not have consequences for the operations and the employment in Europe.

If you don’t remember, Volvo was bought from Ford by China-based Geely in 2010. The Swedish automaker said that the city of Shanghai will be the Volvo Car China’s HQ and centre for product development, design and sourcing.

The officials at Volvo affirmed that they plan on increasing the company’s presence in China and they want to sell approximately 200,000 units / year in the country by 2015. In 2010, Volvo’s global retail sales reached 373,525 units and only 30,000 were commercialized in China. In comparison to 2009, they’ve sold 11.2% more cars.

Preview – 2011 Chicago Auto Show PART 3

Welcome back to the third and final part of our extensive article about the most important cars that will delight us at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Let’s start with Land Rover and their Range Rover Evoque.

2012 Land Rover Evoque

The car will be available in 2-door and 4-door variants, both of them featuring the same engine, which will be a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged that outputs 240 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Evoque will come with an all-wheel drive system as well as the company’s new Terrain Response System.

2011 Lexus CT 200h

One of my personal favorites, Lexus, will bring the CT 200h which is a 4-door / 5-passenger hybrid hatchback, featuring a conventional 4-cylinder 1.8-liter gasoline engine and a battery-powered electric motor, both of them offering a combined power of 134 hp. The new C200h will use a CVT – Continuously Variable Transmission and can run on one or both of the power sources (without having to charge it).

2012 Mercedes SLK

Mercedes will be heading out to Chicago where they will have three new production models: the beautiful 2012 SLK, the 2012 CLS and the 2012 C-Class. We’ve talked about the SLK on rpmGO.com before; it will be available in two variants: the SLK250 and the SLK350. The entry-level model will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter that outputs 201 hp, linked to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The SLK350 is going to have a more powerful V6 3.5-liter engine, good for 302 hp. This model will be available with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

The CLS will be available in two models: CLS550 and the AMG CLS63. The first one has a V8 4.7-liter turbocharged engine that outputs 402 hp while the other comes with a V8 5.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 518 hp. The CLS550 has a 7-speed automatic gearbox while the CLS630 AMG will get a 7-speed automated manual gearbox.

The 2012 C250 will be offered in two trim levels: Luxury and Sport, both of them featuring a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter unit that churns 201 hp. The C300 will have the same trim levels, but it will be equipped with a V6 3.0-liter engine, good for 228 hp. The C350 will have the same engine, but this time it will output 302 hp. The high-end model will be the AMG version C63 which will most likely come with a V8 6.2-liter that outputs 451 hp.

2011 Mini Countryman

Mini will be bringing their 2011 Countryman, which will be the first four full-sized doors Mini model sold in the United States. The car will be available in two trim levels: Base and S. The entry-level will get a 4-cylinder 1.6-engine that churns 120 hp while the high-end variant will feature a 4-cylinder 1.6-liter that produces 180 hp. Both of the models will get front-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi will show us their Outlander Sport model which will be available in two trim levels: ES and SE. Both of the versions will pack a front-wheel drive system and a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that outputs 148 hp. The ES will come with a 5-speed manual gearbox while the SE will get a CVT transmission and steering-wheel paddles for manual changing.

2011 Nissan Juke

Another Japanese automaker that will be heading out to Chicago this year will be Nissan with three models: the award-winning Leaf, the funky Juke and the sporty 2012 GT-R. We talked about the Leaf thousands of times, but here is a small presentation. The car will be available with two trims levels – SV and SL. Both of them will have the same lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor that outputs 107 hp. It can be charged at either a 110-volt or a 220-volt outlet. For the first type it will need 20 hours while for the second type it will need only 8 hours.

Porsche Cayman R

The guys over at Porsche will be bringing their 2012 Cayman R. This two-seater sports coupe will come with the third and newest trim, dubbed “R”. Unlike the entry-level trim or the S mode, the R has a 6-cylinder 3.4-liter power unit that outputs 330 hp, linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard. It is also available with an optional 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

2011 Scion iQ

If you can’t afford the Aston Martin Cygnet, the next best thing is the Scion iQ. Featuring a 4-cylinder 1.3-liter engine that outputs 90 hp, this certainly won’t be the most powerful car at the Chicago Auto Show.

Scion will also be bringing the 2011 tC 2-door hatchback coupe which will be fitted with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder power unit that cranks up 180 hp, mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Toyota Prius v

Scion will not be going to Chicago without its parent company Toyota. Despite the fact that the Japanese automaker is the largest manufacturer in the world, they will be bringing only one model here (one that they already took to Detroit) – 2012 Prius v. The heart of the car will be a conventional 1.8-liter gasoline engine which will be paired with a battery-powered electric motor. The combined power will be 134 hp.

2012 Volkswagen Passat

The German automaker Volkswagen will be heading out to Chicago with the recently-launched 2012 Passat and the 2012 Eos. Presented first at Detroit, the Passat will be available in three different trim levels: S, SE and SEL. Engine options include the 4-cylinder 2.0-liter unit with 140 hp, 5-cylinder 2.5-liter with 170 hp and the high-end V6 3.6-liter with 280 ponies. The diesels will be available with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox. The 5-cylinder 2.5-liter will get either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The V6 engine will be fitted with a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

The EOS will come with a power-retractable hardtop with an integrated sunroof. Under the hood it will feature a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that produces 200 hp, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission.

2011 Volvo S60

Sweden will be represented at Chicago by Volvo with their sexy 2011 S60 model. This premium-midsize car will benefit from a 6-cylinder 3.0-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 300 hp and will be mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. At first, the car will be available in one single trim level, the T6. Later on this year, the Swedish automaker will be introducing the T6 R-Design which should be a real looker.

These are the most important cars that will be presented at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Some of them you might have already seen while others are a premiere (not many unfortunately).  From February 9th to February 20th, the automotive capital of the world will be Chicago. Next month we will have another important auto show to review at Geneva. Stay tuned for a comprehensive coverage.

PS: Part 1 and 2 of the article are here and here. Enjoy the reading.

Volvo Is Testing Almost-Autonomous ‘Road Train’

The guy you see in these pictures is not one of those distracted drivers that cause accidents. Although he isn’t steering the car with his knees and his foot is nowhere near the brakes, he isn’t in any trouble as he is behind the wheel of the first successful “road train”, a very clever setup in which vehicles are programmed in order to automatically follow professionally-driven lead vehicles to reduce the number of accidents and congestion.

These road trains which are also known as “platooning” feature cars that automatically monitor the speed, distance and the direction of the vehicle immediately in front and imitate its actions during long drives or pre-planned routes. The cars have the possibility to leave this platoon at any given moment, but with the ability to focus on a newspaper and eat a good breakfast, who would want that?

Tom Robinson is the road-train project coordinator for Ricardo U.K. which is one of the seven firms that is working on the SARTE – Safe Road Trains for the Environment project that is partly funded by the European Commission. He said that “this is a major milestone for this important European research program.”

The gathered SATRE statistics approximate that these road trains could increase safety by reducing rear-end car impacts, lower the emissions by 20% and permit cars to safely travel closer together which will ease the congestion. In addition, these autonomous vehicles will allow the drivers to make the most out of their commutes. This advanced technology will be ready in the next few years, but it will take some time before general public acceptance and local laws catch up to the technology. Regardless to say, this innovation is certainly very promising and will bring many good things in the years to come.

Source: Wired.com


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In Depth – 2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design

2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design

The 2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design doesn’t offer any additional horsepower under the hood but it does pack some nice features that make it a pretty nice crossover. The car has now a stiffer suspension and a special red paint, a real eye-catcher. This red paint, dubbed Passion Red, is exclusive to the R-Design and you can easily distinguish it from the rest of the colors available. Another exclusivity of the car is the impressive 20-inch rim with the generous XC60 logo. The last outside tweak of the car would have to be the new color-matched cladding located along the lower realms of the R-Design’s bodywork.

Moving inside the car, you will notice the center shack which is now covered by a new, more expensive dark material and the leather seats which sport contrasting leather panels for extra style. To really stand out from the crowd, the “R-Design” logo has been embossed in the leather. Our favorite addition to this package is the steering wheel covered by perforated leather and a bundle of contours available.

One of the variations of the car is the T6 AWD that packs a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine that is capable of outputting 300 hp and 325 pd-ft of torque. The engine is linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox that offers all that power to the four wheels. Although it has a considerable weight of 4,225 pounds, the R-Design doesn’t have any problems, especially when the turbo kicks in. Although the car is not as fast as many might have hoped, it will do the job quite nicely in any given conditions.

2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design

The acceleration of the 2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design doesn’t have anything impressive and you will notice that the car still has plenty of room for upgrades. The reworked dampers along with the stiffer spring make it a jarring ride over pockmarked roads and broken pavement and you will notice that basically it still drives like a CUV. The car has the tendency to understeer when you start sawing that beautiful wheel, but it still is a pretty nice car to drive.

2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design

A more significant downside of the car is the navigation control which is located behind the steering wheel, making the buttons almost impossible to reach. You’d think that for a 2011 model engineers would have worked to make the interior very intuitive and easy to access, you would be wrong. Luckily, the 2011 Volvo S60 ditched this awful system and most likely so will the XC60 once a refresh arrives.

Another problem of the car is the key system. The XC60 is operated by a key fob that has the approximate size of a box of matches, but it doesn’t use the same radio frequency technology that the rest of the luxury automakers use. In order to start the car, the driver of the XC60 must insert this fob, wait for an electric motor to suck it into the dashboard and after that he can press the start button. It is not a very good system in our opinion, especially if you are in a hurry as this can get a little bit annoying after a while.

The price for the R-Design starts from $41,550, but by adding the 20-inch rims mentioned above, it enters the BMW X3 xDrive35 pricing range. Although the bimmer offers a more comfortable suspension, the looks of the Volvo are just great, both inside and out. With a little bit more power, a new set of dampers and without that awful starting system, the 2011 Volvo XC60 R-Design would be a great car, it still is despite its minor flaws.

Test – 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD

2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD

The 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD is built on the same platform as its bigger sibling, the S80 and is a little bit bigger and heavier (176 pounds more) in comparison with the S60R. The car is equipped with a 3.0-liter transversely mounted power unit that is supercharged. This engine is not new to Volvo as they have been using it for the XC60 SUV and S80 we have mentioned before. The distinction is that for the S60, the engineers over at Volvo implemented an internal friction-reduction treatment and increased the power of the engine from the original 281 hp to 300 hp, at 5600 rpm. The torque level was also boosted, from 295 pound-feet to a more impressive 325 pound-feet level, at a higher 2,100 rpm.

With the help of this updated engine, the 2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD needs about 5.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h which is a little bit more than the 335i, but less than the 328i from BMW. The model is offered with Volvo’s proprietary Dynamic Chassis setup (the much softer Touring Suspension System is available for no extra money), and although it has big 18-inch rims and performance tires (W-rated 235/40R-18 Continental ContiSportContact 3), the car is very easy to drive and not at all abusive; plus it is very quiet from the cockpit, much like most of the Volvos. In terms of handling, it acts pretty much the same as the Audi A6 3.0T, which is very good considering the German standards over at Audi.

The previous generation of the S60 had a steering feel that was considered by many as something purely theoretical, but things have changed with the 2011 version. Engineers over at Volvo affirmed that they have been working very hard to significantly improve the feedback and they said that the new steering hack of the S60 has gotten 100% stiffer in torsion. For the steering there are three driver-adjustable effort settings, most likely the drivers will pick the middle configuration as it will offer the perfect balance. The car comes with a very elegant and comfortable leather steering wheel that telescopes and tilts. The interior has also an elegant look thanks to its sweet-potato-colored leather upholstery. The plastics inserted in the dashboard of the car are gloss-free and resemble to animal hide. The switchgear is just about the same as the bigger brother has, the S80.

2011 Volvo S60 T6 AWD

For $2100 more, you could get the Technology Package that consists of a radar-based collision warning system, adaptive cruise control plus the now popular and useful lane-departure & pedestrian warnings. Similar to the system implemented in the S80, the car will alert flash a strip of red LEDs at the top of the car’s dashboard and at the same time make a very weird sound. If you continue snoozing, the car will reduce speed gradually until it will stop thus avoiding a very unhappy accident.

Being a Volvo, it has a lot of safety gear that luckily did not have a negative effect on the beautiful stylish aspect of the car. The S60 continues the design pattern chosen by Volvo, and this new model resembles with the S80, but it has a truncated tail and a tapered nose. When compared to the S80, the height and width are almost the same. The difference is mostly in the wheelbase and length.

We mentioned before the $2100 Technology Package available for the S60. Part of this optional is the proprietary pedestrian-detection system that uses a camera that is installed near the top of the windshield and relies also on the cruise control’s grille-installed radar that detects pedestrians and will stop the S60 automatically. For those of you that are interested about how this system works, keep reading.

The camera is aimed at the road ahead and sends photos to the S60’s onboard computer that will try to match these pictures to the database that the computer has, which consists of more than 10,000 pedestrian photos. By doing so, the system will find out if the object that is located in front of the car is an actual person. If the computer of the car senses that there is a person in the path of the car, the radar will kick in and will find out how far away that person is. The car will continue approaching the pedestrian and the collision-warning alarm that is installed at the base of the S60’s windshield will begin to flash and make alert sounds in order to warn the driver of an imminent accident. During the time the computer warns the driver, the S60 “prepares” the brakes for a full stop by moving the brake pads closer to the rotors. If the driver will ignore these signals, the car will automatically start fully braking until the S60 is stopped. If the driver is traveling with a speed of up to 22 mph, this system can stop the car before having an impact with the pedestrian. Anything above that will help reduce the force of the impact which will result in fewer injuries, hopefully.

Source: CarAndDriver.com

Volvo S60 R-Design to appear in Paris

Volvo revealed its most important model of the year, the new S60 sedan, at the Geneva Motor Show. This doesn’t mean it will arrive at the upcoming Paris Motor Show empty handed, as the Swedish company confirmed that it will bring a hotter S60 R-Design version.

As seen before with other upgraded Volvo models, the R-Design version will definitely bring a range of new accessories for the S60. These include a body kit, special options, and might even add a retuned suspension or improved handling.

Until the Paris show starts, Volvo USA has officially revealed that the S60 will be making its way into dealerships next month. At first, it will pack a 300 HP 3.0-liter inline-six, with all-wheel drive, starting at $37,700. Next year, the range will also see the addition of a cheaper front-wheel drive five-cylinder model.


Geely brand to be dissolved by 2012, will shift focus to other brands including Volvo

Chinese car company Geely Automotive Holding, one of the country’s four large carmakers, has just announced that it will be shutting down the Geely brand in order to focus on its other divisions.

The other brands from under the Geely corporate umbrella are the mainstream Gleagle, the slightly more upmarket Emgrand, the Englon, and, as of last month, Volvo.

According to the company, the strength of the Geely brand was slowing down growth for the other divisions, so it decided to dissolve the name. Existing models like the Freedom Ship and the Yuan Jing will be sold under the Gleagle brand, while the King Kong and Golden Eagle will become Englons.

While this may sound a bit confusing, the most important part is that Geely will be fencing its bets, and it’s safe to say that Volvo will become its biggest brand.


Video: Heico Sportiv tunes the 2011 Volvo S60

The 2011 Volvo S60 has definitely made an impression on fans of the Swedish company, combining the already top notch safety of Volvo cars with a very attractive design and pretty potent engine options.

There’s always room for improvement though, and traditional Volvo tuner Heico Sportiv has just revealed its new accessories and upgrade package for the 2011 S60.

First off, you’ll be getting a revised front fascia, complete with Heico branding. A front lip is also present, as is a rear diffuser that incorporates two dual tailpipes. Special wheels are also available for an improved stance.

S60 owners should also be excited about the performance upgrades Heico Sportiv offers. The 2.0T version is now able to output 297 HP with 258 lb-ft of torque, while the T6 is able to achieve 330 HP and 339 lb-ft of torque.

Want to see just how many improvements Heico Sportiv did to the 2011 Volvo S60? Then hit the jump and watch a video of the tuned Swedish sedan in action.

New Volvo chairman wants limousine to rival BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S Class

While the ink has barely dried on the sale of Volvo from Ford to Geely, future plans are already being made by the Swedish automaker’s new chairman, Li Shufu.

The Chinese executive, who is also the founder and co-chair of Geely, has revealed that Volvo needs a flagship limousine, in order to rival German models like the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S Class or the Audi A8.

According to Shufu, Volvo had a tough time developing such a model under Ford ownership, as such a car would have rivaled another Ford brand, Jaguar (now owned by India’s Tata Motors). Geely, on the other hand, definitely wants such a limousine to be produced, and will slot it in above the current S80 (pictured above).

Why does the new ownership want this? Because its native Chinese market always loves a big sedan, as highlighted by the massive sales models like the BMW 7 or 5 Series, Volkswagen Phaeton or the Audi A8 record in that territory. As such, Volvo should definitely get in on the action as soon as possible.

Li Shufu does admit that this is currently just his idea, and the new board of Volvo needs to be convinced of the benefits such a car would bring.


Ford officially sells Volvo to Geely for $1.8 billion

After almost a year of negotiations, weeks of rumors and speculation and a lot of legal battles, Ford has finally revealed that it has sold Volvo to Chinese car company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited, simply known as Geely.

The whole deal has been priced $1.8 billion, which was paid by the Asian company for 100% ownership of Volvo, as well as all of its assets together with the Swedish and Belgian manufacturing plants.

The deal was met with excitement by both Ford and Geely. The companies will continue to work together on joint platforms and engines developed by Blue Oval and Volvo engineers. Supply contracts will also be honored.

The former head of Volvo, Stephen Odell, will move on to lead Ford of Europe, and his place will be taken by Stefan Jacoby, none other than the former CEO of Volkswagen USA. The chairman of Volvo will be Geely founder Li Shufu.

Plans include the obvious expansion into the Chinese territory for Volvo, while Geely will put to good use the safety technologies the Swedish company uses in all of its cars.

May this new deal help all of the parties involved, and let’s hope that Volvo will continue walking its own path under the Chinese ownership.


Volvo recalls 2007-2010 S80 over tire pressure issues

Even though Volvo has made a name for itself with safety features and flawless manufacturing, this doesn’t mean it isn’t spared from the occasional recall, as highlighted by the recent XC90 problems.

Now, the Volvo S80 sedans manufactured between 2007 and 2010 are subjected to a brand new recall. It seems that the vehicles in question are fitted with faulty tire pressure information.

More specifically, both the owner’s manual and the door sticker of the S80 contain inaccurate maximum tire pressure information. What’s worse is that the tire pressure monitoring system is also coded with that faulty inflation data, so it won’t warn drivers if their tires are subjected to extreme pressure.

Luckily, according to Volvo, no incidents were reported as of yet. Still, customers will be notified in the near future about this problem, and advised to head to their local dealership. The monitoring system will receive an update, while the manual and the door sticker will be replaced.

For more information about this recall, Volvo S80 owners can contact the Swedish company at 1-800-458-1552.



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Ford to complete Volvo sale to Geely next week

It seems that Volvo‘s odyssey will come to a final conclusion next week, as Ford will complete the sale of the Swedish brand to Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely.

According to a report from the Detroit News, the Blue Oval and the Chinese company will sign off the last papers, and Volvo will become the property of Geely, alongside all assets, plants and liquidities.

Geely is expected to pay up to $1.8 billion for the Swedish brand, less than a third of what Ford paid for the company back in 1999.

Expect many leadership changes, as Li Shufu, the founder of Geely, will become chairman of Volvo, while the brand’s CEO, Stephen Odell, will go on to lead Ford of Europe. Hans-Olov Olsson, a former Volvo executive will be kept as vice chairman.

The Ford-Geely-Volvo odyssey has continued for quite some time, ever since the Blue Oval decided to sell off its European brands, in order to focus more on itself. Hopefully Geely will known how to take care of Volvo and continue its growth.

Expect the official news to arrive next week.


Volvo XC90 gets investigated by the NHTSA over faulty lighting system

Even though Swedish automaker Volvo prides itself with making some of the safest and most reliable cars around, this doesn’t mean problems can’t leak through the quality control.

This is seemingly what happened with the 2004-2005 Volvo XC90 SUV, as the NHTSA has started an investigation on 93,487 such vehicles. The cause of the inquiry comes from a potential problem with the lighting system, which can cause the headlamps and/or turn indicators to stop working in certain conditions.

As such, all of the older SUVs will be inspected by the federal body. 21 complaints have been filed up until now, but no incidents were reported. Luckily, if a technical problem is to blame, it will most likely demand for a new control module to be installed.

Stay tuned for the results of the NHTSA investigation, as well as news of a potential recall.


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