Volvo: Back From the Brink

Yes, you can call it a comeback. In 2009 Volvo seemed to be on its last legs. In 2015, they posted their highest sales total ever, selling over 500,000 cars for the first time in their 89 year history. Forecasts call for sales of 800,000 by 2020. So, how did they do it? New ownership and new technology.

In 2010, Volvo was purchased by the Chinese automaker Geely Motors. At the time, this was viewed as potentially the last gasp of the Volvo brand, with even their own executives questioning how the company would operate under the new ownership.

Instead of simply cutting costs, the new ownership, led by Li Shufu, pushed for more technology and more innovation. The result was the Volvo XC90. The car features a range of innovations including Apple CarPlay, lane assist, and artificial intelligence software called Pilot Assist. The software utilizes radar and lidar to lock into traffic patterns of surrounding cars when traffic is moving below 30 miles per hour, helping to end the stop-start pattern of driving in congested lanes.

In addition to the Swedish brand’s Chinese ties, they will have a larger presence in America as well. A new plant is being built in South Carolina, with an expected opening in 2018.