Forgot your Volvo key? There’s an app for that

Volvo Cars digital key

Volvo Cars digital key


No one likes being locked out of their home or their car. And we realize that the key we misplaced is where it shouldn’t be as soon as we hear the lock click or pull the front door shut and securely behind us.

For 2017, Volvo has stakes claims to be the world’s first car manufacturer to offer cars without keys from 2017.

Volvo customers can download an app on their smart phones that will interact via Bluetooth technology, offering more flexibility and connectivity to their car through the doors, trunk, or starting the engine.

Customers can also store more than one digital key on their app, allowing them to access different Volvo cars in different locations, if it’s required.

Volvo Cars digital key

Volvo Cars digital key

Using the app people could potentially book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key delivered to their phone immediately. On arrival a customer could simply locate the rental car via GPS, unlock it and drive away, avoiding those frustrating queues at airport or train station car rental desks.

Are you lending your car to someone? You can send your car’s digital key to that friend’s mobile phone to allow access.

“At Volvo we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology. New technology has to make our customers’ lives easier and save them time. Mobility needs are evolving and so are our customers’ expectation to access cars in an uncomplicated way,” said Henrik Green, Vice President Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars. “Our innovative digital key technology has the potential to completely change how a Volvo can be accessed and shared. Instead of sitting idle in a parking lot the entire day, cars could be used more often and efficiently by whoever the owner wishes.”

Volvo will pilot this technology in spring 2016 via its car sharing firm Sunfleet, stationed at Gothenburg airport, Sweden. A limited number of commercially available cars will be equipped with the new digital key technology in 2017.

“There are obviously many permutations when it comes to how this shared key technology can be used,” added Martin Rosenqvist, New Car Director, Special Products at Volvo Cars. “We look forward to seeing how else this technology might be used in the future and we welcome any and all ideas.”

Volvo is a pioneer with new digital key solutions. In 2015 the Swedish premium carmaker launched the world’s first commercial offer to have online shopping delivered directly to the car, by providing a one-time digital key to a delivery company. Now the digital key technology will also be made available for customers.

Physical keys will continue to be offered for people who want them.

First edition of XC90 sells out in 47 hours

All new Volvo XC90
All new Volvo XC90


 It appears the wait was worth it.
After waiting through a bunch of mundane updates,  Volvo and Geely seem to hit pavement in full stride.
The First Edition of the all-new VolvoXC90, 1,927 individually numbered cars only available for sale via digital commerce, sold out in 47 hours after it was released. Volvo proclaims that most of the cars were reserved within one hour from sales start. At its peak, 7 cars were sold every minute. The U.S. is the number one market for theXC90, and was also the number one market for First Edition sales.

 “We are very pleased, but not really surprised,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service of Volvo Car Group. “The huge interest in the XC90 escalated to astronomical levels after the world premiere last week.”

 The First Edition cars, which celebrate the year Volvo was founded, were for the first time in history only available at

Volvo’s new system sees and senses what you’re not



We’ve got systems that detect the car leaving a lane, what’s behind us, and even what’s perhaps along side us if you’re driving a Honda and get the right-lane screen to illuminate. And we’re all perhaps a tad worried that Big Brother has, or is, scanning or smartphone info as well.

Now, the rolling system for safety systems, Volvo cars has a technology that detects what what the driver is looking at or whether he or she has closed eyes.

“This will enable the driver to rely a bit more on their car, and know that it will help them when needed,” explains Per Landfors, engineer at Volvo Cars and project leader for driver support functions.


By placing a sensor on the dashboard to monitor aspects such as the direction in which a drivers are looking, how open their eyes are, as well as their head position and angle, it’s possible to develop precise safety systems that detect driver alertness and are able to adjust the car accordingly.

Imagine how this could work for folks, especially teens, looking down at phones to check messages or text someone.

This means the car does not stray out of the lane or get too close to the car in front when the driver is not paying attention.

Sensor for Driver State EstimationSince the car can detect if a driver is not paying attention, safety systems can be adapted more effectively. For example, the car’s support systems can be activated later on if the driver is focused, and earlier if the driver’s attention is directed elsewhere,” Landfors explains.

 Some of the current systems that can be included are Lane Keeping Aid, Collision warning with full auto brake and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist.

 The technology is based on a sensor mounted on the dashboard in front of the driver. Small LEDs illuminate the driver with infrared light, which is then monitored by the sensor. Infrared light is just outside the wavelengths that the human eye can see; that means the driver doesn’t notice the light at all and benefits from the safety aspect.

Volvodriversense2 Sensors, Volvo notes, could also be used to identify the driver by different points on the face and accordingly, adjust the seat settings or adjust the interior lights as well as the driving lights just from the direction that the person is looking.

None of this Jack Bauer-like technowizardy is stored anywhere in the car, the clouds or at Volvo at any time.

“The car doesn’t save any pictures and nor does it have a driver surveillance function,” Landfors said.

 The technology is already installed in test vehicles. Volvo Cars is also conducting research together with partners including Chalmers University of Technology and Volvo AB to identify effective methods for detecting tiredness and inattention.

 The analysis of the driver’s state, known as driver state estimation, in which driver sensors play an important role, is a field that may be key to self-driving cars in the future. The car will need to be able to determine whether the driver is capable of taking control when the conditions for driving autonomously are no longer present. A driver sensor could be of assistance in this.

Volvo Car Group Celebrates 50 years of Dedication to Child Safety


It’s an analogy that’s as envious as Golden Arches and the hamburger: Safety and Volvo.

This year makes the 50th anniversary of the once-Swedish firm’s historical work with the world’s first rear-facing child seat prototype in a PV544 back in 1964. The latest innovation is an Inflatable Child Seat Concept that is easily tucked away in a small bag when not in use.

The differences in anatomy between children and adults form the foundation for Volvo Cars’ child safety developments both in terms of car integrated features and accessories. Children are not small versions of adults, which is why children need special restraints when travelling in cars.

Volvo XC70 interior (2007)

“The basic principle remains the same as 50 years ago. The smallest children must always travel facing the rear until the age of 3 or 4. Older children should use a booster cushion or booster seat that makes sure that the lap belt is correctly fitted over the pelvis,” says Professor Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist at Volvo Cars Safety Center.

Here are some of the most important milestones in Volvo Cars’ child safety history:

First rearward facing child safety seat prototype tested in a Volvo (PV 444)

First rearward facing child safety seat prototype tested in a Volvo (PV 444)

1964    First child seat prototype

Inspired by how astronauts travel rearwards, Bertil Aldman, medical doctor and subsequently professor in traffic safety at Chalmers University of Technology, developed the very first child seat prototype. Volvo was closely involved in the development and testing was carried out in a PV544.

1967    Reversible front passenger seat with special child backrest

The first child seat to be sold to customers was created by turning the front passenger seat around. Adding a padded backrest with straps made sure that the rearward-facing child was kept in place. The solution was sold as an accessory for the recently introduced Volvo Amazon.

1972    Volvo’s first rear-facing child seat

Rearward-facing child seats are designed to support the neck and help spread the force of a frontal impact over a larger area. Frontal impacts are the most frequent and usually the most severe impact situation.

1976    The booster cushion – a world first from Volvo

Children from 3 or 4 years and up travel facing forward using the standard safety belt with a belt-positioning booster cushion. Volvo Cars’ policy is that children should use a booster cushion until they are 140 centimeters tall and 10 years old. When using a booster cushion, the child runs about a 75 percent lower risk of being injured compared to being unrestrained.

1990    World’s first integrated booster cushion

The first integrated booster cushion was an ingenious fold down and out version in the rear center position in the Volvo 960. Double integrated pop-up booster cushions in the outer rear seats were introduced in the Volvo S40 in 1995.

1999    World’s first rear-facing seat for ISOFIX

The world-first solution for the standardized, car-integrated ISOFIX fittings was actually two rearward-facing seats in one. Both seats – one for infants and one for toddlers up to four years of age – could be fitted in the same ISOFIX frame.

2007    World’s first two-stage integrated booster cushion

Two-stage integrated booster cushions were introduced in the Volvo V70 estate. The two-stage version, with two sitting heights, enables a better belt fit regardless of the child’s size. Child adapted safety belt load limiters were also fitted.

2014    Inflatable Child Seat Concept

The innovation, which is still in the development stage, is easy to install and can be tucked away in a small bag when not in use. This means that the child seat can be easily transferred between cars and the bag even fits in carry-on luggage when flying or travelling.

Volvo comes to its Sensus, adds cloud connectivity

Volvo Connectivity


I’m willing to give Volvo a pass because there’s been so many changes and the’ve told us there’s a lot in the pipeline for the future. That’s good news.

Add to its modernization is its connectivity package called Sensus Connect, which is really  an updated on-board infotainment and navigation solution in the cloud. 

Updated Sensus Connect will be available in all new Volvo models starting in May. Drivers who already have Sensus Connect in their cars will be offered updates.

The cloud-based services allow drivers to find and pay for parking from their car, discover new restaurants at their destination, stream their favorite music seamlessly and much more. Sensus Connect also offers the first-ever solution utilizing built-in connectivity supported by Pandora Internet Radio.

The brand new in-car experience includes a novel take on all aspects of traveling. Tens of thousands of radio stations can now be enjoyed in a car that is pre-heated or pre-cooled every time the customer wants to go for a drive, made possible by the remote start function on their mobile phone.

The navigation system enables drivers to set destinations through their mobile device, search information through Wikipedia or find and pay for parking via Park&Pay – the world-first integrated solution for finding and paying for parking from within your car.

Underscoring its foundation of safety, Volvo said it partnered with the best in their field to complement the ride and provide a safe ride. Partners are:cEricsson, Pandora, HERE, Yelp, Glympse and parking service providers.

Sensus Connect will allow Volvo drivers to stream Pandora via a data connection provided by the built-in modem or their smartphone. 

The 2014 Volvo Sensus solutions will include the following features among others:


  • Pandora – Internet radio
  • 100,000 global radio stations through TuneIn
  • Rdio – streaming music service
  • Stitcher – on-demand radio shows and podcasts
  • Regional audiobook solutions


  • Upgraded navigation system with 3D graphics and lifetime map upgrades
  • Park&Pay by Parkopedia – find available parking and pay for it from your car
  • Yelp – find local services, e.g., restaurants with reviews
  • Glympse – dynamic, temporary location sharing
  • HERE by Nokia – cloud connected services to provide seamless and connected navigation to drivers
  • Send to Car – find your destination on your phone and send it to your car’s navigation system
  • Wikipedia – enriched local points-of-interest information
  • Baidu – local search for the Chinese market


  • Refreshed HMI with graphically themed center and driver displays
  • Voice control and text-to-speech


  • Integrated rooftop antenna and embedded 3G modem
  • WiFi hotspot in the car
  • Smartphone tethering (WiFi and Bluetooth)
  • Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling


  • Smartphone app – connecting your phone to your car
  • Engine remote start – app-controlled heating and cooling of the car
  • Connected service booking – car knows when service is due and will pre-book itself for a convenient service appointment at Volvo dealership.

XC Concept Coupe shows Volvo’s vision

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

Volvo XC Concept Coupe


Finally there’s some interesting news at Volvo.

The company released pictures and more on its XC Concept Coupe that will be built upon its SPA or Scalable Product Architecture.

For a company that used to have fenders that doubled as a T-Square and never had a curvaceous style until its dared to built the C70 retractable convertible it’s almost impossible to now find a flat spot anywhere on a Volvo. They’re as curvy as Sofia Vergara. OK, you get the idea.

With 21-inch wheels that bulge under extremely arched fender wells, this 2-door, four-seat Volvo Concept XC Coupé is similar to its cousin the Concept Coupe.

Whether it’s a Coupe or a SUV wannabe crossover is part of the appeal and notes will likely be taken at auto shows to gauge reactions. The SUV appeal is drawn from the side moldings and skid plates.

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

New T-shaped DRL lights accent a much different shape as does its “floating grille” and the rear light signature.

Volvo’s XC Cross Country spawned a different way to look at cars when it arrived back in 1997. It blended the utility of an SUV with true car ride and economy. That’s something that Subaru also found out with its famed Outback as it conquered former SUV owners who loved the style, but over time grew tired of the truck-based ride and economy.

Volvo expanded its XC range up to its SUVs and runs across the line with the Volvo V40 Cross Country, via the XC60 and XC70, to the XC90.

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

Volvo’s S60, V60 Polestar ready for world debut in 2014

2014 Volvo V60, S60 Polestar

2014 Volvo V60, S60 Polestar 


Finally Volvo has something to get excited about.

After a slow year or so, and finally securing finances from Geely, Volvo Cars of North American announced that the S60 and V60 Polestars are set for their world debut in Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. Additional markets and sales goals, as they say in the industry, will be released later.

The key features of the Polestars are their ability to scoot up to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and have a top speed of 155 mph. 0 km/h in 4.9 seconds for these limited edition vehicles. Delivery is expected to begin in June 2014.

“We are proud to present the S60 and V60 Polestar. A car developed for those who share our passion at Polestar: That driving really matters and that a true driver’s car should enable you to enjoy driving all year, on all roads and in all weather conditions. This is a driver’s car for real life,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.

Polestar V60

“With the introduction of the V60 model, we are proud to continue the heritage of fast Volvo wagons, such as the racing 850 BTCC, a tradition deeply rooted among Volvo enthusiasts,” continued Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.

“Our motorsport cooperation with Polestar has been going on for almost two decades and it is rewarding to see how Polestar can use their experiences from motorsport to engineer such an exciting and competent car,” said Derek Crabb, Motorsport Director at Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars).

“It is very satisfying to see how Polestar has been able to combine this level of driving performance in their interpretation of the S60 and V60 with maintained original service program, class leading safety features and certified fuel and emission ratings. Customers buying this car will get the best from both Polestar and Volvo,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales & Customer Service at Volvo Cars.

The car is based on the latest generation Volvo S/V60 and marks the start of an extended Polestar production model range. Development of the car has been ongoing during the past years, picking up from the C30 and S60 Concept cars and the Australian S60 Polestar. Thousands of development miles have been driven on twisty mountain roads, on the Autobahn and test tracks from the south of Europe to the frozen north of Sweden.

Polestar performance engineering


Upgrades include modifications made to increase rigidity of the chassis to cater for the 80 percent stiffer springs relative to the standard S60 R-Design. These changes, combined with the tailored high-performance Öhlins shock absorbers and 20-inch Polestar wheels, result in a precise, yet comfortable, driving experience.


The brake system has undergone substantial modifications. Most visible are the 371 millimeter ventilated front discs and six-piston Brembo calipers, guaranteeing a high level of braking performance.


To reflect the increased performance of the S/V60 Polestar, positive aerodynamic effects have been achieved through subtle, yet efficient, modifications based on data from tests in the Volvo Cars wind tunnel. The changes are visible with the front splitters, optimizing the airflow underneath the car, as well as a new rear spoiler and diffusor, increasing down force.


The six-cylinder, turbocharged T6 engine has undergone extensive development with a new twin-scroll turbo and intercooler to produce 350 hp at 5700 rpm and 369 lbs.-feet already at 2800 rpm. The engine breathes through a 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust system, making for a throaty engine note.


The six-speed automatic gearbox features a new paddle shift system that together with the Polestar-developed, Haldex four-wheel drive system takes the car from 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds and to a limited top speed of 155 mph. The gearbox as well as the four-wheel drive system and traction control system has been recalibrated to provide an active driving experience and maximum grip in all situations.


Volvo Polestar Interior

Volvo Polestar Interior

The interior has been reworked with new details, materials and Polestar colors, such as the steering wheel, seats and more, with the sole purpose of increasing driver support and control.

“All in all, we have taken a major step forward in all areas, from chassis and engine to interior and exterior details. Development work has been focused on the overall package in order to create a car that you want to use every day, both from a practical and emotional perspective,” said Henrik Fries, S/V60 Polestar Technical Project Manager.

“We are all very excited and proud over our launch of two new cars as yet another step toward a range of Polestar engineered Volvo cars available for people like us around the world. To do it together with Volvo, one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, is greatly satisfying and we look forward to an exciting future,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.

Volvo-polestarsVisit for more information.

Technical Specification


0-100 km/h 4.9 sec

0-200 km/h 17.7 sec

80-120 km/h 4.7 sec

Top speed 250 km/h / 155 mph – Electronically limited


Polestar Öhlins shock absorber system

Polestar bespoke rims, 8×20” ET53 with 245/35R20 tires


6-cylinder inline T6 engine, 2953 cc

257 kW (350 hp) @ 5700 rpm

500 Nm (369 lbs.-feet) @ 2800-4750 rpm

Max 6500 rpm

New twin-scroll Borg Warner turbo

New intercooler

Polestar 2.5 inch stainless full-flow exhaust system with twin 3.5 inch tail pipes


S60 Polestar: 1752 kg

V60 Polestar: 1822 kg


AWF21 automatic gearbox with paddle shift system

Polestar transmission calibration for faster gearshifts, launch control and curve-hold functionality

Polestar Haldex calibration for more rear torque dynamic distribution

Polestar calibrated stability control system


Front: Polestar/Brembo 6 piston brake calipers

371×32 mm ventilated and floating Brembo discs

Rear: 302×22 mm ventilated disc

Lexus, Toyota, Acura snare top spots in Consumer Reports’ 2013 reliability issue

Audi, Volvo & GMC Secure Spots in Top 10


In what is an annual make or break day for many automakers, Consumer Reports has released its posting of the most reliable vehicles that will be the consummate reference periodical for most car shoppers this year.

Japanese automakers Lexus, Toyota and Acura grabbed the top three spots while Volvo, GMC and Audi also broke into the top 10.

Toyota’s Camry, RAV4 and Prius V, some of the Japanese makers most popular and top-selling models didn’t make the coveted car collection because the vehicles scored poorly in an insurance industry crash test.

CR survey’s findings are based upon subscribers’ experiences with 1.1 million vehicles. Consumer Reports uses the survey data to compile reliability histories on vehicles and predict how well new cars that are currently on sale will hold up.

Audi moved up four places this year to finish fourth overall—the top European manufacturer in the survey. Three Audis, the A6 sedan, Q7 SUV and Allroad wagon, have “much better than average” reliability.
Volvo, now owned by Chinese firm Geely, jumped 13 places to seventh.
GMC emerged as the top domestic brand, finishing ninth—three places higher than last year.
The top predicted-reliability score went to the redesigned 2014 Subaru Forester SUV, which hadn’t been on the market for very long when CR conducted the survey.
Ford’s C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid got the worst score, and the regular C-Max Hybrid wasn’t much better. Only Ford’s vaunted pickup truck, the F-150, was a recommended model.
In addition to GMC, Buick climbed nine slots to 12th place over last year. All Buicks except the V-6 LaCrosse were average or better. The only dark spots for Chevrolet are the Camaro and Cruze, both of which earned below-average reliability scores.
Japanese brands took seven out of the 10 top spots in the survey. Nissan sank to 22nd among the 28 brands in the rankings. As a group, the nine Japanese brands in the survey still produce a remarkable number of reliable cars. Of the almost 100 models, 90 percent were average or better and almost a third ofthem received top marks. Ten of those highest scorers were Toyotas. Of the eight Lexus models in CR’s survey, six got top marks. All Lexus and Acura models earned an above average reliability score while all Infiniti, Mazda, and Toyota models earned an average or better reliability score.
Two popular models, the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord V6 and the 2013 Nissan Altima, scored too poorly in the survey for Consumer Reports to continue Recommending them. Last year, CR had predicted that both vehicles would have at least average reliability.
Mazda slipped from fourth to fifth. The redesigned Mazda6 debuted with above-average reliability.
Subaru and Scion, which also typically rank well in reliability, were torpedoed by their twin sports cars, the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FR-S, which scored below average. This dropped Subaru to 10th place, from last year’s fifth. Scion, for which CR had only two models with sufficient data, sank from first place to 11th this time.
One of the key problem areas in Consumer Reports’ survey centers on in-car electronics, including the proliferating suite of audio, navigation, communication, and connected systems in newer cars.
Of the 17 problem areas CR asks about, the category including in-car electronics generated more complaints from owners of 2013 models than for any other category. The survey revealed touch-screen infotainment systems have been buggy, with screen freezes, touch-control lag, or a reluctance to recognize a cell-phone, an MP3 device, or a voice command.
Hybrids and electric cars continue to do well. The Toyota Prius, Lexus ES 300h, Toyota Prius C, and Honda CR-Z hybrids, as well as the Nissan Leaf electric car, were among the top models. Ford’s C-Max and Fusion hybrids were the only exceptions.
The Tesla Model S electric car performed well enough in the survey to earn a Recommendation from CR for the first time. CR gathered data on more than 600 2012 and 2013 models. Owners of the 2012 model reported very few problems, although 2013 owners reported quite a few more. Problem areas included wind noise, squeaks and rattles, and body hardware (including the sunroof, doors, and locks).
Of the 31 Ford models in Consumer Reports’ survey, only one, the F-150 pickup with the 3.7-liter V6, was above average. Seven achieved an average score. Ford’s challenges don’t end with the historically problematic My-Touch systems. Several EcoBoost turbocharged V6 models have poor reliability as well. Almost two-thirds of the 34 Fords and Lincolns in our survey got scores that were much worse than average.
Chrysler’s bright spy was the 300 C with above average scores. Jeep’s 2014 V-6 Grand Cherokee received below average reliability.
Hyundai and Kia slipped a bit in the 2013 survey, with Kia ranking midpack and Hyundai slid to 21st place.
Complete reliability report and results for all models are available at  and in the December issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands November 5.

Volvo starts production of new 4-cylinder engine family


Think of this as the Swedish example of KISS: Keep It Simply Swedish.

With a new set of engine variants in its 4-cylinder engine stable, Volvo is producing more efficient gasoline and diesel iterations for the future. With independence to build things on its own now, tossing in an electric drivetrain, Volvo is eager to embrace what it views as increased flexibility and quality.

“This marks a milestone in Volvo Cars’ history. With our new engine family we are focusing on two additional vital properties – driving pleasure and fuel efficiency,” says Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering.

Modern production plant with efficient assembly

In Volvo Car Group’s engine plant in Skövde, preparations for the production start of the new Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA) engines have been under way for about two years. One of the highlights is a brand-new, state-of-the-art addition to the plant for assembly of the new engines. All the engine versions are built on the same line, which runs through the new part of the plant and makes for very efficient production.

“One of the biggest challenges was the remodelling of the line for cylinder block processing. 30 machining cells were replaced or converted at a cost of about half a billion kronor,” says Oskar Falk, Vice President Global Engine Production.

Billions invested in a competitive engine family

Development and investment in the new engine family is part of a comprehensive expansion plan at Volvo Cars. About two billion kronor was invested in the Skövde plant. This secures operations there and a large number of jobs for a long time to come. The investment is the most important in the engine plant’s history.

Developed at Volvo Cars

The new VEA engines were developed by a Swedish team of engineers. The new, smaller engines are optimized and deliver higher performance than today’s six-cylinder units, while offering lower fuel consumption than the current generation of four-cylinder units.

“During the development of VEA the starting point was our customers and what we wanted to offer them in regard to good fuel economy, low environmental impact and immense driving pleasure at an attractive price. At the same time, however, it’s also about the fact that Volvo Cars gets a sound basis for developing future-generation technologies featuring fuel economy of absolute world class,” says Derek Crabb.

Launched this autumn

VEA consists of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Together with driveline electrification, VEA replaces the previous eight engine architectures on three different platforms.

The new engines will be introduced between 2013 and 2015. Almost 20,000 engines will be produced in 2013, and by the end of the year the production pace will be 2000 units a week.

The first variants will be fitted to the Volvo S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 in autumn 2013.