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Volvo Unveils Stunning New Luxury Concept at Shanghai Auto Show - 2 GREAT VIDEOS

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Volvo Concept Universe

The fitting successor to the S80

By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher

AUTO CENTRAL - April 20, 2011: About 12 years ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Gothenburg, Sweden to test drive the then radically different Volvo, the S80.

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Peter Horbury - back at Volvo, where he belongs
The vehicle was, I believe, the pinnacle Peter Horbury's tenure at Volvo in which he was the significant force in morphing Volvo from a staid Connecticut school-teacher car line into vehicles that were as sexy and stylish as anything in their price category from Germany or Japan. I loved everything about the S80, as my 1999 review illustrates (RIDING LARGE INTO THE NEXT CENTURY - Volvo Turns a Corner with the S80 Luxury Sedan).

Shortly after Ford acquired Volvo, Peter left the Swedish company to join Ford's new Performance Automotive Group, of which Volvo was a part - along with Jaguar and Aston Martin. Although he was still presumably in charge of Volvo design it meant the end of his direct concentrated effort for Volvo. Frankly, I was disappointed. Peter eventually wound up as the senior design guy at Lincoln, but then returned to Volvo after Ford disbanded PAG and sold off the assets to TATA (Jag and Land Rover), and Volvo to a Chinese group headed by Geeley Automotive.

It's said that while at Ford Peter had major impact on a variety of cars, such as the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKR. I'm not in a position to dispute his impact on Ford design's, but to me it was little for than just baby-sitting traditional Ford style (unfortunately that's often the case when a creative person joins an established firm - the sharp edge becomes dulled by management and/or financial constraints).

In any event, Peter rejoined Volvo and it looks like he's now back in fine form captaining a team that is responsible for what being called "Volvo Concept Universe." Since it's just a concept the vehicle is not available for test drives; I've only seen the photos displayed on this page and watched the HD videos that are attached. I think the car looks wonderful, and if Volvo gets the chance to produce it (without changes that dilute its look); I think it will have almost as much impact on the market and Volvo's image as the S80/C70 had. The fitting successor to the S80. Enjoy the videos. I think you'll agree with my assessment.

Click PLAY to watch Pt. 1

A luxury Volvo for China and the World

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Volvo Concept Universe

At the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2011, Volvo Car Corporation visualises a masterpiece of Scandinavian Design for car buyers with exquisite taste. The Concept Universe is a large, luxurious sedan with a new human-centric form language that honours the beautiful lines of classic Volvo models.

“The Concept Universe offers the world a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan,” says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation. Volvo Car Corporation's long-term strategy is to be a successful, truly global company with products designed around our customers’ needs and lifestyle.

Scandinavian Design is about understanding and caring about people. Volvo Car Corporation has the intention to be the brand that best interprets what buyers of modern luxury cars want. The Concept Universe has been designed to spark a subconscious desire and a feeling of eternal beauty. It moves towards the future with its coupe-like roofline and contemporary, solid rear, but it also echoes Volvo’s proud heritage by borrowing design cues from classic models from the past.

"Just like fine luxury goods, this design feels handcrafted and durable enough to stand the test of time," says Peter Horbury, Vice President Design at Volvo Car Corporation. "We will compete with the best with our special kind of Scandinavian Design. It is unmatched in performance and technology, but without superficiality or complication."

Click PLAY to watch Pt. 2

User focused and pure

The interior of the Concept Universe is a comfortable, cultivated environment that is also user-focused and refreshingly uncomplicated. It is driver-orientated in the front and comfortably relaxed in the rear. The in-command driver environment has intuitive controls and a touch-screen that approaches the hand when the driver reaches towards it – with everything operated from a seat that is inspired by ultra-comfortable chairs. Passengers in the rear seat are embraced by pure comfort. The interior moulds into the rear seat and becomes part of the seating environment.

The dynamic feel and dark colour scheme in the front seats fades seamlessly towards the rear until it fully transforms into a light rear seat haven of calmness. Concept Universe is full of classic forms, materials and textures, used with a twist to create a special contemporary luxury experience.

“The Concept Universe is exceptionally refined, yet with all the simplistic assets that makes Volvo champions of the uncomplicated. There is a growing appreciation for this ingenious blend of design and technology among modern luxury car buyers. This trend paves the way for our success. We are convinced that our special brand of luxury has a great future,” Peter Horbury concludes.

“Our aim is to be the brand that best understands what buyers of modern luxury cars want. We are eager to hear what the most demanding Chinese customers think of this luxurious concept. Later, we will show the design in Europe and in the United States in order to bring it into the global context that we are aiming for with all our car models," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.