Oct 30, 2013

Consumer Reports Reliability Study – 2013

Consumer Reports just released their 2013 Auto Reliability Survey Results. It’s amazing they collected data for over 1 million cars in the US market. I’ve often gone to their end of the road testing facility, usually with our CEO or folks from VCC/Sweden. They want to understand how the data is collected, how the data can be translated into what customers want and where we need improvement.

My call to Consumer Reports to set up an appointment time usually goes like this: “Hi Gabe, I have another bunch of Volvo folks who want to talk with you guys.” I hear Gabe pause, and then he says “Okay, when?”  Every, I mean every manufacturer visits their HQ, often to do a song and dance to get them to understand why their car is the best and that CR does not understand how their car works X, Y, Z or whatever.

What I’ve always told my group before the visit is to just to ask questions and listen. Over the years, CR has vastly improved their facilities. Most recently, they added a huge building where they can do headlight testing during day light hours. It also has a photo studio – you can see it in this video. They truly want to help everyone make safer, better quality cars for consumers.

The best part of what CR does is their policy to buy cars at dealerships. We never know when or where they will purchase their cars, which keeps everyone honest. No lab queen cars from ABC Motor Company, just a car like you and I would buy. They get the same ownership experience we all get.

We are very proud of what we have accomplished over the years and it shows in this new report.  We are mentioned here around time mark 3:20.  Are we the best…not yet. But our Loadstone is pointing North and we are heading in the right direction.


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Oct 21, 2013

XC60 Collision near Brussels


The result of a Volvo XC60 being squeezed between two heavy trucks

Yesterday morning, a horrific accident took place at a Belgian expressway near the capital Brussels.

A car containing a mother and daughter crashed into the back of a truck. The vehicle disappeared completely under the rear end of the heavy truck. To make matters worse, a heavy truck crashed into the Volvo XC90 from behind.

The result was a lot of scrap. The emergency services had to rescue the two women from the car, who were trapped for more than one hour. The fire brigade had to cut off the roof of the vehicle before being able to set them free.

The two ladies must have had a guardian angel as they got off with only minor injuries. They were taken to the hospital for a routine check up.

Click here for original text newspaper article.

I’m often asked, “Is Volvo still a safety leader?”.  With more and more car companies discovering there is marketing strength in touting their IIHS and NHTSA scores the real proof is in the pudding. I know, many brands are coming out with similar systems like adaptive cruise control with auto braking, pedestrian detection and avoidance, automatic steering and whole host of safety features. Many times it is limited to one model or is a very expensive option.

Accidents are more than just one government-inspired test. Now don’t get me wrong; because of continued efforts by IIHS and NHTSA to push manufactures for btter accident protection, all cars have made progress from even five years ago. But their testing is based on one accident type and cannot replicate or compare to real situations like the above accident. This XC90 had two dangerous impacts, much like getting ‘T’ Boned then rolled into a telephone pole. The driver and daughter were lucky on many fronts. Just glad they drove a Volvo. OK…does this mean every accident is survivable in our Volvo? Probably not, and our legal guy would not want us to say that. Does it mean that I think we do an awesome job of helping to protect precious cargo? Yes.

Looking at this photo, the lower tailgate (ultra high strength steel) seems to have held against the side body panels rather than fold into itself. That might have been because the position of the truck’s bumper.

So, this little Swedish car company just keeps plugging along, aiming toward year 2020 and our goal to not have a fatal accident or serious injury while driving one of our new cars. With friends commenting about other brands safety features, I should show them this photo and ask which car would they want if this happens to them.


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Posted in collision, safety, Volvo Saved My Life | 6 Comments »

Oct 16, 2013

Volvo/VCOA’s Day in Rockleigh

Jamie Kitman, a journalist writing for Automobile Magazine and Car Talk radio/blog, attended our recent open house and here is his blog entry and watch the video below.

Jamie’s 220 is really sweet. Nicely done and would be great daily driver.


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Posted in General | 5 Comments »

Oct 15, 2013

Just in Time for Winter 2013-14

Was checking my email at Yahoo and this popped up from Forbes.com. Nice way to start the week.

Best New Cars for Snow (and Go)

A good friend of mine who was at Road and Track for many years once told me about how after rolling his PV544 during one weekend in college he “just pushed it over and drove home.” His is a great story in what we do very well (safety). Rolling a PV must have been a hoot; scary, sure, but a great way to experience Swedish iron. Anyway, his take on AWD/4-Wheel Drive, I-Drives, and whatever manufacturers call powering all wheels that help keep you out of trouble was: the only basic difference between all wheels driving and two wheel driving was how far out of the desert you had to walk.

What one offers is a way to help keep you out of trouble. Drive carefully and don’t take chances with snow and ice this winter. Also, get four snow tires for winter. I know…expensive but well worth the extra traction.


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Oct 12, 2013

Volvo Club of America National Meet 2013

This just in from Mark McCourt over at Hemmings Daily:

Volvo 2013 National Meet

I especially like the green half-breed someone drove up there. :)


VCOA Meet 2013 (Photography by Mark J. McCourt)


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Oct 10, 2013

Why Vampires Drive Volvos

In the spirit of Halloween, I felt compelled to share this with you. You can borrow this book for free on Amazon if you have a Kindle (or for .99 cents if you don’t), if you’d like to give it a read. It’s only 49 pages :-)



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Oct 8, 2013

Cars used to develop actor’s characters

Gustavo “Gus” Fring – Volvo V70

Journalist and friend Craig Fitzgerald (also a Vespa collector – talk about character development – and automotive journalist) did an interesting interview with Dennis Milliken, Transportation Coordinator, about cars he chose for the TV show Breaking Bad.  Film scripts often call for using specific cars that instantly develop in the audience’s minds an actor’s personality without one line of script.

I think The Saint TV series was one of the first to use a car to define Roger Moore (Simon Templar) as a good guy. I mean, nasty people don’t drive Volvos. Here is what Milliken said about our Volvo V70 featured in Breaking Bad:

In my opinion there was only one car for Gus and Vince nailed it with this,” said Milliken. “This could well have been a one-shot deal as far as a vehicle for Gus. It screams family, safety, and more importantly, law-abiding.”

“Considering his enormous wealth you’d think he’d at least have the newest model of whatever car he would be driving. Nope. Put him in not only a Volvo, but put him in a Volvo station wagon, and while we’re at it, let’s make it a dozen or more years old. It’s in mint condition, but not new.”

And here is Craig’s entire piece, “Behind the cars of Breaking Bad,” about the cars of Breaking Bad. I suspect we all know what a Volvo driver is about. Maybe the closest Volvo to a BMW is our R series. It’s kind of like “Well lovely wife, you and our two wonderful children will be safe” rationalization. Deep down we know our Volvo is one sweet, fast car, but we must bury that grin until the check is cashed.


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Oct 3, 2013

What to do if you get a flat tire

While this piece is geared towards moms/parents, with todays cars it’s not bad reading for us other halfs. There’s nothing worse than getting stranded with a flat, especially on a car that has miles on it and the lug nuts are impossible, almost welded to the studs. I would go as far as to say that having an On-Call program or Roadside Assistance is well worth the kroner. If nothing else, it’s cheap insurance.

Did you know Volvo was the first to have a national road side assistance program for their cars? MB had a program, more like a tech guy who would be dispatched from a local MB dealer, in really cool MB wagons all decaled up with whatever their program name was, to help MB drivers. Problem was it required the dealer to sign up to participate. What we did, well Fred Hammond – one of my former PR bosses – did, was to develop the first national program funded by a car maker. I guess in a way, Fred invented a new safety feature, without having to crash test one car. Interesting thought.

I think around ’95 I was driving one of our test cars that had REALLY low profile tires on a trip to DC in winter. I hit a pot hole that would make NY City Department of Road Repairs (made that up) jealous. Of course I couldn’t see it, the rain covered it, but I nailed it perfectly. Two blow outs on one side. I was stuck. Calling Volvo On-Call was easy and they were out in a relatively short time, maybe an hour. Still, it made for a long day.

Anyway, here is that article: What to Do if You Get a Flat Tire with the Kids in the Car


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Oct 2, 2013

Irv and his Volvo P1800 on TODAY Show and CBS This Morning

Enjoy some behind-the-scenes shots of Irv and his 1966 Volvo P1800 on TODAY and click on the links to watch Irv on TODAY and CBS This Morning yesterday.


CBS This Morning:



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Posted in 3 Million Miles, 3 Million Reasons to Believe, Irv Gordon, P1800 | 1 Comment »

Sep 30, 2013

Tune In Tues AM: Irv and his P1800 on the TODAY Show and CBS This Morning

Tune in Tuesday morning 10/1 during the second hour of the TODAY Show and CBS This Morning to see Irv Gordon and his 3 million mile Volvo P1800.

See pix below from Mo Rocca’s visit to Long Island earlier today.

Visit 3MillionReasons.com to learn more about Irv’s journey and share your reason to believe.

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Posted in 3 Million Miles, 3 Million Reasons to Believe, Irv Gordon, news, P1800, Volvo P1800 | 1 Comment »