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Volvo Presents to West Coast First-Ever Car Designed by Women

'Your Concept Car' Initiated, Designed and Developed by Women, for Everyone

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 14 -- Volvo Cars is presenting to West Coast audiences a concept that's never been attempted in the more than 100 years of auto manufacturing: the first car designed and developed almost exclusively by women, for everyone.

"Your Concept Car" (YCC) debuted to rave reviews and critical acclaim at the international auto show in Geneva in March 2004, and has been in nearly constant demand since, with stops on the East Coast, Europe, Canada and Asia. YCC will make its only West Coast visit this month as part of its continuing world tour.

Though created from a woman's perspective, the car includes features appealing to both sexes -- including easier maintenance, clever storage solutions, a better line of vision, computer-aided parking and a bold, yet elegant, exterior.

The idea for the car began three years ago, when a group of women -- including engineers, designers and marketers -- at Volvo's global headquarters in Sweden attended a seminar that focused on how to better cater to women customers. Inspired by the event, the women began questioning two facts: Women purchase about half of cars and influence about 80 percent of all car sales; yet, for a century, men have made most of the decisions in the design, development and production of a car.

Their conclusion: If women -- whether they are single professionals, soccer moms, homemakers or grandmothers -- do the bulk of car buying and driving, they should have a voice in car design. After successfully lobbying Volvo management, they received approval to create "Your Concept Car," designing it faster and at less cost than most concept cars.

The car will be presented to the public on Monday, Sept. 19 at Art Center College of Design from 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. on its South Campus, 950 South Raymond Ave., Pasadena. One of the YCC's designers is an alumna of Art Center.

The car includes features never dreamed in man-made cars: no hood, no gas cap, dirt repelling paint, optional seat covers, electronic parking assistance, new sight lines, and more.

At the point-of-purchase, retailers can conduct a body scan of the driver measuring height and length of arms and legs. The data is stored in the vehicle's key, and the car recommends a seat position for the driver that provides her or him an optimal line of vision and reach. The car also electronically notifies the owner's chosen service center when maintenance is due, and the service technician contacts the owner to book the appointment.

Because it's a concept car, there is no assurance the car will ultimately be mass-produced for retail. Nevertheless, Volvo expects many of its ideas will find their way into future cars.

"The goals with the YCC are to introduce important automotive ideas to the market and show the vast female brain trust within the automotive industry," said Anna Rosen, YCC's exterior designer. "It would also be great if we could inspire other women -- and men -- to question traditional business methods and create positive change within organizations. Great ideas always come about when people look within their personal and professional lives and ask: What could I do that's never been done before?"

Female Influence Strong in Volvo

Women are forming an increasingly important customer group for Volvo Cars. In the United States, 54 percent of all Volvo buyers are women.

"This car brings tremendous pride to the Volvo family," said Anne Belec, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars of North America. "Women account for 54 percent of all Volvo buyers in North America. Likewise, we have a long-standing tradition of listening carefully to what women want."

In the 1980s, Volvo formed a women's reference group to test and assess new models within their early stages of development. A women's focus group convened in California played the key role in the distinctive functions and features of our recently introduced Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicle.

YCC Team Members

More than 120 Volvo employees participated in the design, development and production of YCC. All final decisions were made by women. The YCC Project Team Leadership, who are all employees of Volvo Car Corp. in Sweden, included:

   Camilla Palmertz, Project Manager
   "Our aim is that you should feel great in this car."

   Eva-Lisa Andersson, Project Manager
   "A car is a very technical product. Still, your buy is based on

   Elna Holmberg, Technical Project Manager
   "A car is your choice.  Therefore it is very important that you can put
    your demands and wishes into it."

   Maria Widell Christiansen, Manager, Design
   "We are convinced that this car also, definitely, appeals to men."

   Tatiana Butovitsch Temm, Communications Manager
   "The hallmark of a good idea is that people ask why this hasn't been done

   Lena Ekelund, Deputy Technical Project Manager
   "In the YCC, we have retained our focus on customer needs, not
    compromised it in favor of flashy technical solutions."

   Anna Rosen, Exterior Design
   "We wanted to create a beautiful car.  Not brutal, but tough."

   Cynthia Charwick, Interior Designer
   "The first impression you get of the car is a feeling of grace and

   Maria Uggla, Color and Trim Designer
   "One way of being in control is that you have the opportunity to
    influence your environment."