Why is a Volvo 144 (compared to the Audi 100) so expensive?

If there was something that always plagued Swedish automakers, it was prices. Saab, as long as the brand existed, produced too expensively. And that was also the case with Volvo, before the manufacturer became Chinese. While Saab did not find a convincing solution to the problem, its market competitor from Gothenburg simplified it.

He successfully addressed the issue of security. He did this so consistently that there was no room left for the smaller competitor. A Saab was at least as safe as a Volvo, perhaps even better at times. But Volvo had leased the offensive appearance and advertising for itself.

Why is a Volvo 144 so expensive?
Why is a Volvo 144 so expensive?

Why is a Volvo 144 (compared to the Audi 100) so expensive?

In fact, in the 1970s, labor costs in Sweden were higher than in Germany, the quantities were smaller than their larger counterparts, and a lot came together. The way out for Volvo Germany was to advertise safety, which was quite successful.

Anyone who grew up back then remembers the safety made of Swedish steel. He knew that his high school teacher didn't trust the angular Volvo without reason. Safety and Volvo were common knowledge.

Of course, the issue of safety was a good way to get around the problem of high vehicle prices. So good, in fact, that they went into advertising aggressively and used the term – Expensive – began to play. Where does the price come from, Volvo asks and mentions the sum of an incredible 120 million DM that the security cost!

Volvo 144 advertisement 1970 - explains why it is so expensive
Volvo 144 advertisement 1970 - explains why it is so expensive

120 million, the father of the family gasps at this sum, which in 1970 must have seemed as huge as the billions that a German finance minister is currently missing but never had. Volvo is now upping the ante and making it clear that these millions only went into one vintage. In the one from 1970.

The father of the family, reading the ad, is now very impressed.

Seen in this way, a Volvo is inexpensive, with prices starting at 11.170 DM for the cheapest model. Because security is life.

The Volvo is 18% more expensive than the Audi

Was it really like that? Was the Volvo 144 (Link) so much more expensive than the market competitor's vehicles? Comparative advertising was banned in 1970, but the magazine in which Volvo advertised was also used by Audi. The Audi 100 (C1) was in the same segment as the Volvo and Audi aggressively advertised its prices.

Audi 100 (C1) advertising - the Volvo costs 18% more
Audi 100 (C1) advertising – the Volvo costs 18% more

You can get into the Ingolstadt car from 9.450 DM - for the vehicle from Gothenburg you have to pay at least 11.170 DM. Which may not sound dramatic, but that is at least 18% more that would have to be transferred. Such a distance is crucial to the purchase, because you can hardly accuse the Audi of not being safe.

That the high school teacher loves the Volvo and hardly the Audi (Link) may have had something to do with the successfully placed advertising. But also fundamental with the image of both manufacturers. While the Audi image placed the buyer of a 100 in the milieu of upscale civil servants and employees, Volvo was considered a brand of intellectuals and teachers.

And we know that cultivating your own image has always been crucial. Even if you had to dig a little deeper into your pockets.

One thought on "Why is a Volvo 144 (compared to the Audi 100) so expensive?"

  • The Volvo was certainly expensive, but it was the more robust car.


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