Volvo Lifts the Scandinavian Fog on Concept You

By Jason Davis | September 13, 2011
Last week, we noted the new teaser video that Volvo put together showcasing design elements of the new Concept You. Looking back on that video now, though, we're not sure it did justice to the stunning piece of sheet metal unveiled earlier today in Frankfurt. This says a lot about Volvo, whose social media presence is just now getting up to par. The Swedish automaker has for years gone its own way, and as we noted last week, is now free of the Blue Oval's control to again pursue an autonomous niche in the luxury market. That's where you, and Concept You, come in. Like the previous Concept Universe, Volvo is actively soliciting input from fans and show goers and media. Through surveys, and by monitoring comments at social network sites, Volvo designed the Concept You with more of what you wanted in a luxury car. "With our hearts in Sweden and our eyes and ears all over the world, we intend to be the brand that best interprets what buyers of modern luxury cars want," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation. "The Concept You reflects how people's perception of luxury is moving beyond the traditional perspective…" Jacoby goes on to note that the contemporary Scandinavian design of Concept You "is a good indication of what you can expect from our next large sedan." Visually, the large, fastback design is distinct and easy on the eyes. The 21-inch chrome wheels are dressed in low-profile rubber, but with the understated wheel arches, work well with the flowing lines of the Concept You's rear-hinged "suicide" door body language. Conceptually, we also really like the wide front grille, and the S60-like rear-end and trunk lid. "We will compete with the best with our special kind of luxury," said Jacoby. "Volvo's cars are intuitive and uncomplicated. Our customers don't have to give away driving pleasure to drive safely. They can be environmentally conscious and still indulge the pure joy of owning a luxury car." Inside, the Concept You is typical concept-car insanity, and in a good way. Gone are the days of confusing and hard to reach buttons, and the Concept You features plenty of futuristic infotainment screens, with a head-up display in the windshield, a center console screen, and a touch screen between the rear passengers. Audio comes from a unique and yet-unreleased "air-powered" subwoofer system by Alpine Electronics, a tailor made leather-and-suede interior designed by fashionista, Oscar Jackson, and hand-tufted wool carpeted wood floors. "The Concept You explores new territories in our search for the ultimate intuitive car that makes the owners manual a thing of the past. Smart phones and smart pads have brought mobile infotainment into a new era. Here, we use a number of touch-screens to replace buttons and controls in order to make the driver totally connected, totally in control. The technology also helps us to create a refreshingly uncluttered interior," explains Peter Horbury, Vice President of Design at Volvo. Before we get ahead of ourselves too much, it's again worth noting that Concept You is, as the name implies, a concept. While Volvo has not specifically said the Concept You will be the next large sedan, we're certain that, like many concept cars, some or many of the stylistic design cues will vanish before potential production. For a North American market, that probably would mean nixing the headlamps, rear-hinged doors, and maybe toning down the wheel package, as well as the fashion runway-like interior pieces. Time will tell if Volvo can "capture the essence of [a] Scandinavian design… that radiates timeless luxury." Source: Volvo