high tech, new models

Volvo: End of the line for ‘luxury’ as you know it

Volvo XC90
VIEW FROM THE TOP: Volvo’s XC90 (these images are of the upcoming ‘R’ version) will not only have to perform but also meet strange new requirements from buyers. Image: Volvo / Motorpress

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The world’s most established luxury brands are facing the toughest challenge in their shared history of motoring, according to one of them – Volvo.

Customers’ expectations and perceptions of what constitutes luxury, the company believes, are evolving more rapidly than ever before. To put this into perspective, Volvo Cars has released some interesting preliminary findings from a report on “the evolution of luxury” that was commissioned by the Swedish manufacturer.

The report, created by leading trend agency Kjaer Global, focuses on the evolution of luxury over time and will serve as further input to the continuing brand transformation journey that Volvo Cars is undertaking.


The automaker told The Corner in a media release that the nature of luxury had changed through the past decade by moving from a measure of asset/ownership-related wealth to a scarcity of time and life-enhancing experiences.

The report – the full version of which will be published early in 2016 – indicates that established luxury brands need to re-invent themselves to embody the modern interpretation of no-logo luxury, which has seen sales of heavily branded mass-manufactured goods drop in favour of more discreet branding and craftsmanship “visible only to those ‘in-the-know”.

Life experiences as luxury

Björn Annwall, senior VP for sales, marketing and customer service at Volvo Car Group, explained: “We see the potential of ‘new luxury’ affecting several sectors, not only the auto industry but also fashion, travel and other luxury product and services. Many established brands will need to adapt quickly to a more personal, rarefied and experience-based customer experience… or risk being side-lined.

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The report identifies several key trends, among them real-time innovation, constant access and connectivity and a growing appreciation of expertise and craftsmanship, authenticity and discovery – all connected to the search for a more fulfilling life experience.”

He added that a “growing trend” of what the report labelled the Female Factor and The Good Life showed a growing consciousness of lifestyle choices. There was, he said, a desire for a more balanced attitude to life.


“Volvo is about to launch our premium Volvo S90 sedan,” Annwall explained. “We think that we understand the nature of the new luxury experience – but that will be up to our customers to decide.

“Volvo Cars has always been different. We have always approached design and the entire car experience from a human perspective. I believe this makes our cars increasingly relevant.”

Volvo XC90 'R'

The full “evolution of luxury” will be published early in 2016 in conjunction with Volvo Cars’ vision of modern automotive luxury.

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