• Automobility LA

A Show About Nothing: Volvo Not Bringing Cars To L.A. Auto Show

No, they’re not playing a late April Fool’s joke.

Matthew Guy By: Matthew Guy November 22, 2018
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Three cheers for the weird, everyone. In a bizarre turn, Volvo has announced their big debut at next week’s L.A. Auto Show will be … absolutely nothing.

No, we’re not playing a late April Fool’s joke. According to the company, visitors to the Volvo booth in L.A. will be greeted by a central space that would normally feature a car but will instead see the statement “This Is Not A Car” suspended in mid-air.

“By calling the trade show Automobility LA, the organisers have recognised the disruption affecting our industry,” said Mårten Levenstam, responsible for product strategy at Volvo Cars. “We want to demonstrate that we got the memo and start a conversation about the future of automobility. So instead of bringing a concept car, we talk about the concept of a car.”

Um, okay then.

Rather than just building and selling cars, we will really provide our customers with the freedom to move in a personal, sustainable and safe way,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. It’s easy to poke fun at statements such as these, but the man has a point. The manner in which a lot of people are using cars, especially in urban areas, is changing rapidly. By challenging the norm, Volvo is signalling they’re taking these shifts in consumption patterns seriously and are willing to pivot their approach.

Automobility LA

In addition to what Volvo is calling this “powerful statement”, the company will show a number of interactive demonstrations of its connectivity services such as car sharing and the vision for autonomous driving. You can bet there will be information about Care by Volvo as well, which is the Swedish company’s take on a car subscription service. The latter is actually so successful in America that Volvo is running out of XC40 crossovers thanks to the high take rate of that machine in the program.

The brand is having a banner year here at home as well, with Volvo Canada selling a total of 7865 cars through the end of October compared to just 5701 machines at this time last year. The XC40 small crossover is performing exceptionally well, and the new S60 sedan is expected to roll into dealers later this month. Just don’t expect to find any of them on the Volvo stand next week in L.A.

Their plan is working though, isn’t it? We’re talking about Volvo, which was probably the true intention of this PR stunt all along.

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First Drive: 2018 Volvo S60 / V60

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