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Volvo boss wants cars with Ikea effect

The chief executive of Volvo Cars wants the brand to return to its Swedish roots and stop trying to replicate the German brands. Volvo Cars CEO Stefan Jacoby

Stefan Jacoby indicated that the company will move away from the ‘sports executive' car approach of recent years.

"We need to focus on luxury - I don't believe in the word premium, it sounds like you are making people pay for something they do not necessarily get. Volvo has lost its distinguishing points as a product.

"You can immediately recognise you are sitting in a BMW or an Audi for example and I don't think Volvo is there yet.”

The first project is to define what the brand stands for, said the former Volkswagen executive.

Scandinavian elegance

In the Volkswagen Group everyone knew what each individual brand meant, he said, but  Volvo at the moment is not sharp enough or in harmony of what the brand stands for.

"It needs to return to its Swedish roots. Not so much sporty but more functional with Swedish/Scandinavian elegance - different from say Jaguar or Bentley. Simplicity is the key.

"We need to stop copying the Germans we should express what Scandinavia stands for - high values for human beings, strong social security and welfare. We don't have to be the same size or have the same package.”

A new front end is being considered, as is ensuring that future Volvos are intuitive and functional.

"We don't want to put technology into our cars for the sake of it. We want technology that is easy for people to understand and use. They need to be comfortable with it."

Practical functionality

Jacoby said the XC60 and C30 are the role models of Volvo’s current range, with great design and potential.

"We are looking for practical functionality and good Swedish design. What do I mean by that - well you can look at IKEA for exactly that, it is also very simple. We need to combine this with elegance.

"Apple is another good example of functionality, even young children find Apple products easy to use. Things can be too complicated - too much going on around you and too much to learn.

"My dream is to have a car without a handbook. You look at some of these, particularly in some premium cars, and they are as big as a bible. Maybe there is too much technology and not enough aimed at the human interface."

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