Geneva is a fine event in a fine country. The noble old lady invited to the car showroom, and we came too. Although there is no Saab participation ... but Geneva is the place where even the little ones have their chance of attention; and a subtle counter-event to the IAA in Frankfurt, which is big and loud.
In order to give our brand some presence, the Saabblog.net trio wore black Saab jackets. An idea that didn't go down well with everyone and that caused talk. Again and again we heard the word "Saab" falling behind us, and we were a frequently photographed subject. Some may have thought about it like this ... We were then very politely complimented out of a car after we had apparently taken photos too intensely. And at another booth, the three Saab men caused noticeable unrest. But more on that later! First it's about the impressions on site.
It was palpable and visible that the industry was in a real crisis. The stands of Peugeot and Citroen were noticeably uninspired, and at Opel you could literally feel the 21% drop in sales in January. If you go by what the journalists wanted to see, then these brands were on the outside, and we just strolled through these stands without seeing anything that aroused our interest.
The chance in Geneva was used by the exotics and the newcomers. Victor Muller was present with his new Spyker B6 Venator, and the stand was exceptional for several reasons. Newcomer Qoros was surrounded by journalists because the product was interesting in a way. However, not everyone who had a debut in Geneva was interested. Tata showed vehicles that nobody (yet) wanted to see, but traditional brands like Jaguar and Alfa Romeo attracted more and more visitors. Before we start our virtual tour of the fair this afternoon, let's talk about the other brand from Sweden, which had a black day in Geneva.
The Volvo scandal in Geneva
A real scandal experienced Volvo at the show. The brand from Gothenburg stands for understandable reasons under our special observation and also enjoys a certain sympathy in the team. At the fair, the Swedes presented their revised models that will ensure survival over the next few years until the new Volvo generation.
Almost everything could be in order at Volvo. But it is not ! Volvo main owner Li Shufu announced that Volvo has a weakness. Volvo, so the Chinese in front of eagerly listening journalists, has his weakness in design. Volvo is too Scandinavian, and the cars from Gothenburg are not the Chinese concept of luxury. The audience did not believe it, but Li Shufu had just put the ax to the roots of Volvo.
To understand the statement correctly, one should retrace the last days. Li Shufu has bought the manufacturer of London taxis and is in a very shopping mood. His next target is the distressed manufacturer Fisker, whom he would like to see in his possession. Meanwhile, dissatisfaction is growing in Gothenburg. The staff carousel is turning faster and faster, and the new Volvo generation will not be launching 2014 at the end of the year, but rather during the year 2015. There is a lack of money for the needed investments while the main owner is on a shopping spree. Volvo`s CEO Samuelsson gives an interview before the fair. His focus is on Swedish roots and Scandinavian design. He emphasizes that so much that you wonder why he does it.
In retrospect, one understands. The day after the Li Shufu press conference, the Swedish press wrote about “Katastrof för Volvo” and “Ägarens brutala sagning av Volvo”. There is tremendous pressure on Volvo's CEO Samuelsson, and it seems that even years after the purchase, Li Shufu did not understand what the core of Volvo is.
That was Volvo in the press. Not as expected and hoped. The Plugin Diesel Hybrid from Gothenburg, a world premiere, interested nobody more. Pity ! Our virtual tour starts in the next article.