The 'R' concept is nothing new to Volvo. Beginning in 1995 with its introduction of a bright yellow T-5R wagon, Volvo has used the mark as an enhancement of driving pleasure.
The mission of the new 'R' cars is to reinforce "driving excitement" as a Volvo virtue. "We have always incorporated leading edge technology into our 'R' cars," states Nilsson, "with the level of technology currently available, and with our innovative applications,...we feel that we can send a very strong message about the Volvo brand."
Volvo projects sales of 2,500 "R" cars for North America - 7,000 worldwide.
The target audience for the vehicles is expected to be male-dominated, by as much as 94 percent in the United States. "The American buyer has a more relaxed attitude, looking for a top-of-the-line car that's fun to drive," Nilsson said in indicating the Volvo 'R' cars are ideal vehicles for the American road, and the American driver.
UPDATE: Automotive News (AN) confirms that the 2007 R-Series Volvos will be the last of the breed; Volvo's dropping performance variants from its roster. According to Volvo NA's executive vice president of sales and retail ops, continuing to spend money on R model development, marketing and sales doesn't make financial sense. "For the return we get," Doug Speck told AN, "It just wasn't good enough." In 2006, Ford's Swedish subsidiary shifted just 1098 S60Rs and 538 V70Rs.
While I'm delighted that there were 1098 perverted pistonheads who "got it," it'' deeply worrying that it took Volvo's marketing mavens 12 years, from the launch of the bright yellow T-5R wagon in 1995 to this week, to understand that building a high performance Volvo (not to mention racing it) was the branding equivalent of wearing a speedo to a PTA meeting.
R Series logo, as seen on the lower portion of the speedo and RPM gauges.
Volvo logo (2006). In March of 2006, Volvo introduced a reworked identity as part of widespread changes to the way it markets itself.
The Swedish motor vehicle manufacturer has appointed branding agency Bite to develop its logo as part of a plan to elevate the marque's iron symbol to give it the same level of prominence as the Volvo mark.
The changes, which are the brand's most significant in 75 years, are intended to eradicate inconsistencies in the application of the Volvo identity across its models and communications.
The company also wants to make greater use of the iron symbol, which it claims is recognised as a good illustration of the strength and endurance of its vehicles.
The changes to the logo are subtle, with the iron mark now more curved and thicker bevelled edges. The shape of the arrow has also been changed slightly. The blue of the "Volvo" script is retained, but the silver used for the iron mark is now a softer matt shade in an attempt to give it a more luxurious feel.
The new look will be introduced across all the brand's promotional activity -- previously it had used only the word "Volvo".
The reworked logo will first appear on the C30 model, which is due to be launched at the Paris Motor Show in September, and international promotional material for the model. Volvo hopes the C30 will rid it of its traditional association as a safe choice of family car and make it appeal to a younger and broader audience.
The changes follow Volvo's decision to relaunch its customer magazine, which is produced by Redwood Publishing.