Volvo’s New “S” Word

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Swedish (now owned by the Chinese) car maker Volvo used to be the saaaaaaaaaaafety brand. Until that neurosis became a common disease, via the heavy hand of Uncle – who could not abide saaaaaaaaaaaaaafety being merely available.

It had to be made mandatory.

Well, now that every new car is saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe – or at least, compliant with federal saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety standards – and also because (in keeping with American poltroonery and Babbittry) every major car company is desperate to be seen as clapping loudest and longest for Stalin (also an Uncle, it bears pointing out) by anticipating the next saaaaaaaaaaafety mandate and even proposing new ones of  their own – Volvo’s got to come up with something new to assuage its self-loathing.

This self-loathing being the guilt burden for existing imposed by the West generally, on itself, following WWII and magnificently leveraged by the canker sore Left ever since.

Anyhow, Volvo need a new reason to apologize for itself and here it is:

Sustainability. The new “S” word.

“It has never been about ratings or stars, and it’s not about mandated standards. Volvo Cars advocates for year over year increases in fuel efficiency standards because we answer to a higher authority: our users,” says Håkan Samuelsson, who is President and CEO of Volvo Car Group.

In  a press release sent to car journalists, we find some of the specifics:

“Volvo Cars has not waited for regulators to set stronger requirements in the name of sustainability. Volvo was the first established carmaker to commit to the electrification of all new car lines from 2019. Earlier this year, Volvo was the first and only auto brand to endorse the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter with an aim for at least 25 percent recycled plastics in every new car from 2025.”

Right about now, you can almost picture Stalin pretending to look impatient as he points at his watch. The clapping only grows louder.

It’s of a piece with the hard-to-watch electro-cringing of VW, which has had to finance a heavy media campaign touting the virtues of other brands’ electric cars while shaming itself for building those awful diesel cars.

No one asks whether any of this – the urgent, almost frantic pushing of “alternatives” to gas-powered cars and “sustainability” – is necessary. It is presumed that there is some vague crisis – “climate change,” a wonderfully useful term precisely because of its vagueness – and that “action” is not only necessary but right now.

This is emoting – not thinking. Feeling rather than thought. We witnessed the two opposites engaging in mortal combat a few weeks ago, during the Kavanaugh hearings. That was not an isolated aberration. It was merely a pouring forth of pus from one of many pustules.

The car industry is now riddled with these, too.

It – and it is an it; there’s no longer any meaningful difference between one vs. another; they have all decided to clap for Stalin, as one – either decided that further resistance is pointless or that it will be more profitable in the long run to clap for Stalin.

Probably a bit of both.

The suicidal tendencies of the West have been noticeable for decades, but at this point are as unmistakable as a guy standing on a milk crate with a rope around his neck.

. . .

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Now that relative “safety” has become commonplace, Volvo is trying to come up with another feature to set themselves apart. They need something, because there are few if any compelling reasons to choose them over the other Euro-brands. So some genius decided that “sustainability” would be it.

    Will this work as well as “safety” did? I doubt it. In spite of Eric’s personal biases, many buyers liked the idea of having a better chance to avoid or survive an accident. And they were willing to pay for it. Does Volvo really think buyers will pay as big a premium to “save the world” as they once did to save their very own lives??

    Although some may want to give Volvo “the finger,” I’m glad to step back and let Mr Market give them “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” My prediction is that Volvo is going to bleed market share…Big Time.

    • Hi Mike,

      Prediction: “Electrification” is going to slay most if not all of the European/high-end brands. Because why bother? Or rather, why pay the premium? A battery-powered car is inherently homogenous and the other things which used to serve as a divide between high-end and low-end cars have largely been democratized. What I mean by that is even $20,000 cars already have AC and most power options, often climate control AC and a touchscreen, with a good stereo. By the time you’re at the $35,000 price point, the car will usually have heated (and cooled) leather seats, definitely climate control, an excellent audio system and a really nice touchscreen. Things like wireless cell charging and all LCD gauges are becoming very common in cars under $35k.

      So what can the $40k-plus EV offer?

      It is like paying $15k extra to get the equivalent of a nicer carrying case – and even then, it’s not that much nicer.

      • Eric,

        I think you’re exactly right. Urban transportation pods are inherently mundane. Spending $40K-plus on such a boring module is the epitome of “lipstick on a pig.”

  2. To hell with you Eric. Every article you write makes it more and more clear that the two cars I own now will be the last I ever buy. A very dire and impending doom for people who enjoy driving AND driving freedom. My wife and I’s vehicles are extensions of ourselves and our lifestyle, we will never be part of the collective car crowd. Maybe the 2020’s will be like the 1920’s and everything just gets flushed down the toilet. After market parts for 90’s-00’s vehicles will be valued possessions and the US will become like Cuba, everyone fixing up their 20 year old ride.

    • Hi Brazos!

      There may be hope… things are clearly coming to a head; this can’t last much longer… and what’s coming may be better. We just have to get through some bad stuff first.

      • Eric, you know better than that! What’s coming, is the elimination of cheap used cars as viable transportation- which is exactly what Uncle wants- as seen by all the mandates which have modern cars so absurdly complex and expensive to repair/non-viable after the warranty period. That, in conjunction with flooding the market with stupid EVs, will guarantee no cheap transportation for the masses.

        Viable old cars, if not outright out-lawed, will be so expensive, and or so “non-compliant” with inspection laws- not to mention increasingly more expensive to buy, because of their dwindling numbers vs. increased demand for them, plus scarcity of parts, that they will not be an option.

        And we are already seeing that in many segments of the market- e.g. 20 year-old 3/4 and 1-ton pick-ups going for absurd prices.

        In many places in Europe, it is practically to that point already, where it is a rare sight to see even a ten year-old car; and where only the top echelon of working people can afford a car- with all the lower working classes being relegated to mass transit.

        Or even here in ‘Merca, in states like Taxachussetts where the inspection laws have already effectively out-lawed older cars.

        And the average schmoe is so brainwashed (“Global Warming” etc.); so willing to assume huge debt to have the latest & greatest blinking high-tech baubles; and so clueless about cars and ignorant of the limitations and false economy of ‘lectric cars, that, like everything else, they just quietly go along.

        There’s no silver lining; no light at the end of the tunnel. What’s being done, not just with cars, but in every sphere of life, is conspiring to achieve the exact results the overlords intend for them to accomplish.

        We’re being barraged from every side- and we who “get it” are a tiny powerless minority, who are or will be increasingly despised by the very people who are being unwittingly victimized by the very things which we fight- only to them, we are the bad guys, because we oppose what they have been made to believe is the sane and proper ideology which is “keeping them safe”.

        Uncle has created a rat race in which the very rats see their captors as benevolent 9After all, they support and serve and vote for them!), and in which they see those who advocate for their own freedom as the enemy.

        And such can be verified by merely conversing with the average mainstream American, or reading their postings on mainstream forums, or observing their behavior.

  3. There is one way you can do something.
    Buy FCA’s normally aspirated V8 Hemi. Avail. in lots of their cars, SUV’s, and trucks. Maybe if they see an uptick in sales, they might go ‘hmmmmmmm….’
    I did, and I actually enjoy driving again. Never thought I didn’t, but it was a slow death with unresponsive, mpg-or-nothing, FWD crap, mindset.
    I’m enjoying it so much that I look for excuses to drive. I now enjoy the countless-and-growing left lane bandits, because I ‘have’ to pass on the right because they will not move over even with lights and horns. So when she goes full throttle, it sings magical music, makes me grin, and my wife says ‘you enjoy that don’t you?’ Yes honey but it’s for safety because it’s dangerous to pass on the right, so I am just minimizing my time there. haha..

  4. There is a large cognitive dissonance around the whole country vis a vis cars and driving, however the loudest cry is apathy. There is a large segment of the population that wants to ban driving as they preceive it is dangerous or environmentally unfriendly. That segment is likely 5 percent of the public. Another 10-20 percent exhibit clover tendencies in terms of demanding that automakers be held to ever higher standards of safety and efficiency. The largest segment of the public is largely silent on the issues but can be defined by their choices. The silence is deafening but their behavior is ready for anyone to see. The vast majority of the public is choosing gasoline powered cars and SUVs. Many are choosing crossovers versus sedans because they need one car to do many things. SUVs and CUVS fit that bill very well. Sedans can do for some, but you can’t carry furniture or a small piece of plywood in one. Others are choosing trucks, although I have no idea how they can afford one. I never thought I’d see a day when a truck cost half the price of a house. They are choosing gas powered engines because of convenience. Hybrid cars remain a smaller percentage of the market mileage requirements notwithstanding. People continue to buy new cars at the rate of about 17 million a year like it’s 1998. People are keeping their cars longer.

    All reading understand that the government continues to mandate saaaaaaafety and enviiiiiiironment to car buyers, but this is different. The future is going to bring a confrontation of sorts between government, car makers and drivers. Car makers have never been on our side, but until recently, seemed like they would build what we wanted. Today, that is becoming impossible and they are actively working against their customers.

    In order for our “hobby” and our mobility to be preserved, it is going to take a technological breakthrough that we don’t yet know about. I am angry for the decades long sellout of car buyers at the alter of the environmental and safety lobby. We can’t do much other than drive what we drive and go on about our business. Except be heard. The way to be heard is to do it the old fashioned way. Write letters, make calls, become active, join the National Motorists Association http://www.motorists.org and become part of the solution.

    Perhaps we can gain some exemptions in federal standards through legislation that sprouts smaller companies that will build cars. If there’s a way, we need to devise work arounds. It will involve effort. I believe it can work. A lot hinges on this election. Vote smart.

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