In the late 1990s to mid-2000s, Volvo Car executives believed the brand position of the “ultimate safe car” for families was too limiting and began to extend the brand into the performance car segment targeted at men. Results were disappointing. When Ford bought Volvo in 1999, it pushed the brand into the crowded luxury brand market. Ten years later, sales were down 20 percent from where they were when Ford first purchased the brand.
Volvo Car Corporation was then acquired by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Under this new ownership, in August 2011, Volvo Car announced a new global brand strategy—”Designed Around You,” focusing on a position of human-centric luxury cars that are safe and dependable.
In November 2013, Volvo Car Corporation announced a new brand strategy designed to revive the brand in the United States after a decade of declining demand. According to Automotive News, “The new focus is on ‘Scandinavian’ design, safety, environmental leadership, and ‘clever functionality’ reflected in state of the art—yet simple— infotainment systems.”
Volvo’s primary brand association is still “safety.” And safety is still most valued by parents with children living at home. And Volvo is still one of the most trusted automobile brands. Any repositioning must be congruent with and build on its reputation as the “ultimate safe car.”
Excerpted from Brand Aid, second edition
© 2015 Brad VanAuken
Brand Aid, second edition can be purchased at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com now.