Brand Equity

16 October 2010 – 5:15 pm

Volvo S60

Recently I spent a day with Volvo at a former WWII air base. The windswept location chosen for a range of driving activities to demonstrate Volvo’s new S60 model. Like Mercedes with its new C-Class, Volvo is putting a lot in to their latest model. It is seen widely as a post Ford (ownership) marker for the organisation. For the S60’s handling alone, they have consulted a British BTCC driver. Volvo means business.

The S60 is in part being promoted via a series of trade and public track days. These well organised events see professional drivers take people out to engage in a range of driving techniques, utilising both the petrol and diesel models. This endeavour has to be costing the company a noticeable sum, and we have to ask, is it worth it?

At the overseas’ launch of the Volvo C30 a while back, I felt Volvo did not really know where to pitch the good looking, if slightly expensive car. With the S60 it is different. Volvo is firmly after the BMW 3 Series market, the sales reps and fleet buyers. In my opinion the marketing works. But, pretty much whatever they do, it is a Volvo and to me that says a safe car not a fun one.

After polling friends in and out of the sector, they fed back unanimously their association with safety, reliability and family, when thinking of Volvo. As one of the other delegates from the day since emailed, Volvo have to take the existing image with both hands and propel it in this new direction, by actually getting people in to their cars. A case of driving is believing.

What do you think? Is Volvo going to upset its core customer base with this Max Power style of activity? Is Volvo’s previous marketing just too good and powerful to enable this brand shift? Should companies just play it safe and stick to the knitting?

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