Friday, May 29, 2009

A new model year, a raft of enhancements from Volvo

A new model, new engines and new engine technologies are the key additions to the Volvo range for the 2010 model year, all of which offer enhanced drivability, lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel consumption.

Start/Stop technology for C30, S40 and V50 offers CO2 emissions of just 104 g/km
XC60 and XC70 2.4D front-wheel-drive emit 159 g/km CO2
Introduction of the new Volvo S80 executive saloon to the Volvo range
New D5 and 2.4D available in XC60, XC70, V70 and S80

Volvo C30, S40 and V50
The Volvo C30 SportsCoupe, S40 saloon and V50 Sportswagon DRIVe models now all feature the intelligent new Start/Stop function which brings CO2 emissions down to 104 g/km and improves fuel consumption up to 72.4 mpg. The sports-inspired R-DESIGN specification and body styling has also been introduced to the DRIVe range offering CO2 emissions of 119 g/km and up to 62.8 mpg in all three models.

Prices for the C30 range start at £14,995 OTR for the entry level 1.6 S. The 1.6D DRIVe with Start/Stop variants start at £15,745. The S40 and V50 ranges start at £14,745 and £16,495 OTR for the 1.6 S models with the DRIVe with Start/Stop range commencing at £17,495 for the S40 and £18,845 for the V50.

Volvo XC60
A new front-wheel-drive variant of the Volvo XC60 is now available with the upgraded 2.4D 175 PS engine. This combination with a manual transmission reduces CO2 emissions to 159 g/km and is badged DRIVe. In addition to the lower CO2 emissions, fuel economy is also dramatically improved; from 37.7 mpg (combined) to 47.1 mpg, a 25% improvement. The new D5 engine is also now available in the XC60 offering up to an 11% increase in performance and an 8% reduction in CO2 emissions to 183 g/km.

Prices for the XC60 range start at £24,995 for the 2.4D DRIVe S model, with the new D5 engine joining the range at £26,745.

Volvo XC70
The Volvo XC70 benefits from the two new diesel engines - 2.4D and D5 - which join the range in SE specification and cost £27,995 and £31,495 OTR respectively. The 2.4D engine will only be available with front-wheel-drive and models with manual transmission feature CO2 emissions of just 159 g/km and will be badged DRIVe. It will also benefit from improved fuel consumption of up to 47.1 mpg.

Other changes to the XC70 range include a new front grille displaying the large iron mark and new steering wheel chrome highlights and chrome trim around the ignition area. Cars with the D5 and T6 AWD engines will also have visible twin rear exhaust pipes as standard.

The new Volvo S80
As announced on 26 February 2009, the Volvo S80 has benefitted from a full re-fresh this model year, both externally and internally.

The driving dynamics and ride of the new Volvo S80 have also been updated and improved by the introduction of two new chassis - the Lowered Dynamic Chassis and the Comfort Chassis. The Lowered Dynamic Chassis has been developed to offer drivers enhanced sporting driving characteristics and more responsive handling, while the Comfort Chassis offers a compliant and un-interrupted smooth ride. The introduction of these new chassis' gives customers the opportunity to tailor their S80 to suit their driving style - for inspired, enthusiastic driving or relaxed comfort.

The Lowered Dynamic Chassis will be offered as standard on the SE and SE Lux models. The Comfort Chassis will be the only chassis available on the Executive trim level.

The new Volvo S80 will also feature three new diesel engines, the 2.4D, D5 and the low CO2-emitting DRIVe. As well as providing the Volvo S80 with a different driving experience, the car will also benefit from lower fuel consumption and fewer emissions. An upgraded 2.5T is available, offering a 31 PS performance boost to provide 231 PS and 340 Nm of torque. Despite this 13% increase in power, CO2 emissions have been reduced to 206 g/km and fuel consumption improved to 32.8 mpg with the manual transmission.

A new R-DESIGN Interior Pack has been introduced which includes Dynamic Sports leather faced front seats, R-DESIGN leather sports steering wheel and gearknob, instrument dials, aluminium pedals and sports floor mats. The pack is available on SE Premium and SE Lux premium models and is priced at £500.

Prices for the new Volvo S80 range start at £21,745 for the new low-CO2 emitting DRIVe SE model. The new 2.4D starts at £25,845 in SE specification, while the D5 joins the range at £27,745.

Volvo V70
The Volvo V70 gains the two new diesel engines with prices for the 2.4D starting at £26,845 OTR and £28,745 for the D5 both in SE trim. Changes to the V70 range also include a new front grille displaying the large iron mark and new steering wheel chrome highlights in SE and SE Lux and chrome trim around the ignition area. Cars with the D5 and T6 AWD engines now have visible twin rear exhaust pipes as standard.

The 2.5T engine has been updated to offer a performance boost to 231 PS and 340 Nm of torque. Despite this 13% increase in power the CO2 emissions have been reduced to 209 g/km and fuel consumption improved to 32.1 mpg with the manual transmission.
Prices for the Volvo V70 range start at £22,745 for the new low-CO2 emitting DRIVe model.

Volvo C70
The 2.0D engine in the C70 has been updated to offer CO2 emissions of 158 g/km to enable the car to fall below the 160 g/km threshold for the Capital Write Down Allowance. The Volvo C70 range starts at £24,995 OTR for the 2.0D S model.

Volvo XC90
Volvo's seven-seat XC90 receives a new, lighter chassis and new dampers designed to improve drivability. In spite of this new chassis there are no price rises for the XC90. The range starting price remains static at £29,995 OTR for the D5 Active model, while prices for the flagship Executive variant have been reduced for the 2010 Model Year. The Executive now starts at £42,985 OTR for the 3.2-litre petrol model, a decrease of over £4,000 with minimal specification changes.

New D5 and 2.4D engines
The Volvo S80, V70, XC70 and XC60 all benefit from the new and improved D5 and 2.4D diesel engines which were announced earlier this year3. The new D5 engine with its twin sequential turbo charging offers a 20 PS performance boost to provide 205 PS and 420 NM of torque. Despite this power increase, CO2 emissions have been cut to 169 g/km in the XC70 and V70, 183 g/km in the XC60, while the S80 offers 164 g/km.

The 2.4D has also been upgraded and the new engine offers a 12 percent improvement in performance to 175 PS and 420 Nm of torque whilst bringing down CO2 levels to 155 g/km in the S80 and 159 g/km in the V70. In the XC60 and XC70 the 2.4D coincides with the introduction of front-wheel-drive and together, they reduce emissions to just 159 g/km. Crucially, this figure enables these two models to fall below the 160 g/km threshold for the Capital Write Down Allowance.

New Premium Pack and updated Satellite Navigation system
Volvo is offering the ultimate upgrade with an additional Premium Pack specification on all trim levels and engines in XC60, V70, XC70, S80, XC90 models for an extra £2,000. The Premium Pack includes the addition of Leather-faced Upholstery and Satellite Navigation System (RTI) in the XC60, V70 and XC70. On the XC90 the Premium model adds Satellite Navigation System (RTI), Dual Band Integrated GSM Telephone and Volvo On Call. Meanwhile the C70 also gets a Premium Pack for an extra £1,800 and features Satellite Navigation System (RTI), Bluetooth Handsfree System and Keyless Drive. The Premium Packs are designed to complement the existing high levels of specification on whichever engine or trim level chosen.

An updated Satellite Navigation system (RTI) has also been introduced in the XC60, V70, XC70, S80 and XC90 to bring them in line with the smaller cars in the Volvo range. A new driver interface, new colours and an improved premium feel to the menu and symbols are the key features and the unit costs £1,950 (including VAT).

All new MY'10 models are available to order now with first customer cars expected in July.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Driving the Volvo S60 Concept - virtually.

Volvo is giving an insight into the driving characteristics of the Volvo S60 Concept with the release of an innovative new PC-based racing challenge called Volvo - The Game. Available to download for free now from, it features five of Volvo's racing legends as well as the new Volvo S60 Concept. The game has been developed between Volvo Car Corporation and multiple award-winning Swedish game studio, the SimBin Development Team.

The six cars include the new Volvo S60 Concept, the Volvo C30 currently competing in the STCC (Swedish Touring Car Championship), the previous Volvo S60 that competed in the STCC, the Volvo S40 that notched up many notable successes in the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship), the Volvo 850 - the estate car that became a legend in the BTCC - and finally a true racing classic from the past, a Volvo 240 Turbo Group A.

Players select their favourite Volvo to test their skills on one of the two highly authentic tracks. The two tracks are the Gothenburg Eco Drive Arena in Sweden and Chayka outside Kiev in the Ukraine. Volvo - The Game is the only virtual racing game in the world to feature the Ukrainian racing track.

Volvo - The Game in detail
A team of 15-20 people worked together to create Volvo - The Game with the aim of making it as realistic as possible. The game developers have invested tens of thousands of hours in getting all the details exactly right. Just "building" a car for a racing game takes about one month.
As is the case with the real cars, the six cars in this game each have different driving characteristics. The classic Volvo 240 Turbo Group A, for instance, handles very differently when compared with the latest newcomer, the Volvo S60 Concept. In order to recreate the older cars' interiors as authentically as possible, the designers visited the Volvo Museum to study the former racing legends.

To add further authenticity, game engineers also pulled one of the race cars out of hibernation and gave it a thorough full-speed workout, recording the engine sound straight from the racing track.

The two racing tracks have been reproduced with detail and immense precision. It takes about 1000 hours to create a virtual racing track. Even the kerbs are exactly the same height as the real track.

Volvo - The Game can be played with a steering wheel and pedals connected to the computer. It is also possible to operate the car via the PC's keyboard or with a game-pad. The game offers a choice of skill levels: "novice" with all the driver assistance technology activated such as ABS brakes, the next level up is "semi-pro", and finally "pro" where there is no assistance whatsoever.

Another good reason to buy a Volvo XC90

At a time when large 4x4 aren't topping the sales charts, it's good to see that nice Mr. Clarkson still understands and appreciates the reasons why so many buyers actually need one. In last weekend's Sunday Times InGear section, he was appraising the new Audi Q7 and commented, "I am no fan of the Audi Q7. It is bread-bin ugly and despite its enormous size it’s so small inside that you are faced with a simple choice. Leave the dogs at home. Or the kids. Unlike a Volvo XC90, it cannot do both."

Clearly my colleagues from Audi may not be so pleased by his comments. Never mind, eh.

To see his full review of the XC90 from January, click here -

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yet more awards for Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 crossover has been named ‘SUV of the Year' at the 2009 Fleet World Honours. This is Volvo's second consecutive appearance on the annual winners' list, after the XC60's ground-breaking City Safety won the Technology Category last year.

"This is a great achievement for Volvo and further evidence of our commitment to designing and building company cars that feature innovative technology, yet remain true to our core values of quality and safety," commented John Wallace, Corporate Sales & Leasing Manager for Volvo Car UK.

The Volvo XC60 was launched last November and, in addition to the Fleet World Honours accolade, the car was also awarded the What Car? SUV of the Year at the magazine's 2009 Awards. It fuses SUV-like toughness and practicality with coupĂ© style and driving dynamics and also features the ‘world first' new safety technology, City Safety. City Safety eliminates the possibility of crashing into the car in front at in-town speeds of up to 9 mph and lowers the risk of crashes below 19 mph, reducing injury (especially whiplash) and cutting repair costs.

The recent introduction of front-wheel drive and the new 2.4D engine to the XC60 also sees fuel consumption improve up to 47.1 mpg and CO2 emission figures tumble to 159 g/km - ensuring the model benefits from a 20 per cent Capital Allowance rate following the introduction of new rules earlier this year. The new rules result in lower whole life costs for companies, while drivers of these lower emission vehicles are rewarded with reduced Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax bills.

The Fleet World Honours are presented annually to those motor manufacturers, service companies and individuals who have, in the opinion of the judges, achieved the highest possible level of excellence in their sector.

The judging panel is chaired by industry professional George Emmerson, who has managed fleets at IBM, NHBC and Black Horse Agencies. Other members of the judging panel include Ken Rogers, John Kendall and Ross Durkin from Fleet World's editorial team, and fleet manager Jackie Pomfrett.

George said: "Based on a three-year/20,000 mile per year profile, CAP predicts the XC60 2.4D and D5 SE versions will retain 44% of cost new, while EurotaxGlass's predicts the 2.4D SE will retain 46% of its cost. A 47% residual is estimated for the D5 SE - so residuals promise to be best in sector."

Fleet World's Managing Editor Ross Durkin added: "Despite the difficult economic conditions, we had a tremendous number of entries in this year's Fleet World Honours - a sign not only of the significance of the awards themselves, but also of the tremendous level of service, innovation and competition that exist within the fleet industry today. Those who have won can be justifiably proud of their achievement."

Volvo reveals full scrappage scheme details

  • All models in the highly specified, safe and environmentally conscious Volvo range are available through the Government's Scrappage Scheme
  • Volvo Car UK goes the extra mile by giving customers an offer over-and-above the Government £1,000 contribution
  • Scrappage Scheme offers also available across Volvo's low CO2-emitting DRIVe range, including Start/Stop models, the XC60 front-wheel drive 2.4D and new S80 executive saloon

Following Volvo Car UK's confirmation of its participation in the Government's Scrappage Scheme, Volvo is pleased to announce further details of the additional support offering which will be available across all models, engines and trim levels in the range.

Customers purchasing a car through the Scrappage Scheme can benefit from the Government's £1,000 payment which Volvo will match. This £2,000, combined with extra support from Volvo, will enable customers to drive away a new Volvo C30 1.6 R-DESIGN with £3,849 off the list price.

These support offers are available across the range including all the DRIVe-badged models. Customers looking to lower their environmental impact can purchase a C30 DRIVe with Start/Stop with a contribution from the Government and Volvo Car UK totalling £4,027. The S40 DRIVe S with Start/Stop features a total saving of £4,377.

And the offers are not just available on the smaller models. Customers can drive away a new Volvo S80 DRIVe SE with a saving of £5,210 off the list price, while the Volvo XC60 2.4D DRIVe is available with a £4,640 saving. On an XC90 seven-seat SUV, that saving becomes an astonishing £6,841.

With the DRIVe cars' excellent environmental performance, the driver also benefits from other financial incentives. The C30, S40 and V50 DRIVe models with Start/Stop all qualify for £35 per annum VED band thanks to the ultra-low CO2 output of 104 g/km, while an impressive fuel consumption figure of up to 72.4 mpg on a combined cycle enables the cars to run up to 800 miles on a full tank of fuel.

The Volvo V70 and S80 DRIVe models come equipped with the 1.6-litre diesel engine with specially-tailored engine software and modified gear ratios in third, fourth and fifth. The optimised powertrain helps Volvo's larger cars significantly cut their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions up to 57.6 mpg and 129 g/km respectively (preliminary figures). The Volvo XC60 and XC70, in their new front-wheel drive guise and mated to the new 2.4D engine, offer emissions of just 159 g/km and fuel consumption up to 47.1 mpg.

Crucially, these CO2 figures enable all the Volvo DRIVe models to fall below the 160 g/km threshold for the Capital Write Down Allowance. As a result, company car drivers will benefit significantly from lower Benefit-in-Kind taxation bills. All models are also covered by Volvo's comprehensive 3 year/60,000 mile warranty.

Customers with an eligible car can visit any participating authorised Volvo dealer and the incentive payment is available on any new model in the Volvo range. Along with the extra support, Volvo proves that high specification, safety and being environmentally conscious doesn't need to break the bank.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What's in a name?

If you go back a few years, before the internet and social media had taken off, the world received all of its news-based information from journalists. And everybody interested in the news realised this – easy.

Wind the clock forwards to today and audiences have an ever-growing number of avenues to receive and digest news. The traditional routes of television, radio, newspapers and magazines still exist (although most of their audiences are in decline) but now we have to contend with internet resources like blogs, forums, boards, wikis, social media sites like Facebook and alike.

And to the 'man in the street', we need to accept that it can be confusing. What's the difference between a blog and a forum, and what should they read for what type of news? Who's important and who's not – how can they tell?

In my view, we can make it simple. If we strip out all of the titles – journalist, blogger, board reader, editor etc – and just use the word 'influencer', I believe it should make it easier. After all, all of these commentators, irrespective of the medium they are using, are creating influence in their audience. Clearly some will create more influence than others, but that's been the case.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Social Media wrestles with the traditional world

Have spent a couple of valuable days in meetings with fellow PR professionals and I'm struck by one thing - the different pace at which the power of Social Media is being recognised around the world.

In these meetings, I was eulogising about the benefits that it can bring, about the audiences that it can open you up to, about the cost effectiveness of most of it and, above all from a PR perspective, the measurability that it can add to a PR strategy. But we can't ignore the fact that there are some excellent PR professionals out there who haven't understood the power that Social Media can harness yet, and therefore see it as a possible threat or drain on already depleted resources.

With challenges like how the relationship between bloggers and journalists might work, and how they are going to find the time to respond to the deluge of customer enquires it will surely bring, it's often easiest to just think it's too hard, and not do anything at all.

But I believe that the truth is very different. I wholeheartedly believe that both Social Media and traditional media can happily co-exist together if dealt with delicately. And it doesn't need to take huge amounts of time. In fact, I believe that if the online world feeds the traditional world with stories, it could actually take less time and cost less money.

So, what to do? Do you push ahead and potentially get everybody's backs up or do nothing because of their lack of understanding? I think that the truth stands somewhere in the middle.

As Social Media professionals, we shouldn't just assume that because audiences have an appetite for this that companies are yet convinced. We have to ensure that we are selling the benefits as well as the ideas. Just because we can do it isn't good enough. We need to convince the sceptics of the tangible benefits it will bring the business. This will often involve a small pilot or locally-produced proof of concept rather than a large campaign. And doing what PR has always done best - a softly-softly approach rather than a bull in a china shop.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The right to reply - Media agencies muscle in

I've been fascinated reading the discussion thread following the interview I gave PR Week last week about the future of PR agencies and SEO. Read the original interview here:

For starters, and for the record, I don't think that the days of the PR agency are numbered. As a matter of fact, as a business, we employ a retained PR agency and use a number of other agencies on an adhoc basis. However, I do believe that marketing agencies have probably done a better job of adapting to today's competitive environment than many, but not all, PR agencies have.

When Volvo decided to move into this area, it did so with eyes open and on the back of my previous experience as the UK motor industry's first and only New Media PR Manager for BMW and MINI. And this is not about letting the chosen agency set sail with your brand and steering in whichever direction they see fit. It's about partnering with an agency who really understand the Volvo brand, its customers as well as the online audiences and influencers. It's also about partnering with the right agency who can deliver on the brief.

And I do believe, also for the record, that social media PR can play a key part in a SEO strategy. Yes, digital PR has a role to play in influencing online audiences and shaping brands as it has always done in the traditional world but ultimately, all online PR activity should be geared towards driving customers to our own website. And, at the end of the day, selling cars – after all, that's what we're all here to do. The days of long lunches and the vast MP-style expense budgets in the PR industry went a long time ago and now, more than ever, PRs need to justify what they are doing and why they are doing it.

So, if SEO and driving consumers to your website is a large part of the goal, but you also need to execute a social media strategy, what do you do? Employ a PR agency and hope they'll deliver on the SEO brief too? Not us, we've decided to employ an experienced SEO agency who, for the record too, also have a great deal of experience in creating and managing social media PR strategies alongside the in-house team to make sure the off-line and on-line activities complement one another.

This decision may have caused debate, but debate is good. We live in a world of flux where very few decisions are simple anymore and there are more and more grey areas opening up. This one, in particular, highlights the possible gap between a Marketing and PR function, and we need to ensure that nothing falls between the slats. That's why we believe that a joined up approach, working in close partnership with all stakeholders to ensure that everybody delivers exactly to the brief, is the right way to proceed. You make your own choice as to whether you think it's the right thing to do.

But does this mark the end of the PR agency as we know it. No, just companies breaking down the barriers that have traditionally existed to make the most of the resources that they have available to them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Boy they must be annoyed

Much of my interest in cars stems from a passion in motorsport. I was racing dragsters with my father from the tender age of 10, I've raced 100cc TKM karts and my first job was working at McLaren F1 racing team in 1988 - the year of Prost and Senna.

So, as an avid motorsport fan, I sat down on the sofa to watch another Formula One race yesterday. Now, a year ago, you could have pretty much have predicted what the podium was going to look like, because it'd been the same for a good few years. It would probably have been a Ferrari or McLaren winning, with a BMW Sauber driver standing alongside them, spraying the champers over the adoring team members and fans.

Not this year however. The change of rules has meant that the form book has gone out of the window and a new guard is now installed. Well, actually a quite old, slightly bearded guard. But at least he's a Brit and we haven't been able to say that since Damon Hill's days. So, all change and all's well then?

Not quite. I suspect that all is not okay in the Boardroom at Honda at the moment for it was those Executives who, at the end of last year, decided that they'd spent enough time and money on Formula One and needed to exit, and quickly. With only a few championship points to show for hundreds of millions of dollars of spend over successive years, they needed to get out.

And along comes the team's knight in shining armour, in the guise of eminently talented Ross Brawn, who buys the outfit on the cheap, gets some funding from another bearded fellow, gels the team together and hey presto, pulls together a potentially championship-winning team in a matter of weeks.

I'm not sure how "Oh Bugger" translates in Japanese, but I suspect you can hear it being said in a good few Honda offices at the moment.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Social media, and car dealers

Spent the day at Kings Volvo in Southampton talking to their Marketing Manager. Very interesting that car dealerships are now waking up to the possibilities presented by being able to monitor what's being said by their customers online. In essence, they wouldn't ignore a customer complaining in their showroom so why would they ignore customers complaining about them online.

After all, a customer in a dealership will be heard by a few passers by. A customer who complains on a forum or board can be seen by the whole world!! That soon makes most open their eyes.

But with a few free-to-use tools set up, they'll start to understand their place in the online landscape and start communicating with their customers in a language that their customers want to use - every one's a winner.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The car that stops itself, and saves lives.

Just returned to the office after a life-changing experience - literally.

When Volvo launched the XC60 cross-over, it launched City Safety - a system that monitors cars traveling in front and, at speeds of less than 9mph, will avoid you crashing into it. The words counter-intuitive spring to mind. Here you are, driving along minding your own business and the car in front of you stops. Immediately the Volvo will apply the brakes to ensure that you don't crash into the back of the car in front. At speeds between 9 and 18mph, it will lessen the impact.

Now that's impressive, and it will certainly save those nasty repair bills but it won't save lives... until now.

I've just driven a prototype XC60 with technology that will be offered next year, and this will literally save lives. Using similar technology to City Safety, the Volvo is looking ahead for human-shaped objects. As soon as it detects a person in the road, or entering the road from the pavement, it slams the brakes on to avoid hitting it. And at speeds of up to 25mph, and maybe a little more.

50 years ago this August, Volvo invented the three-point seatbelt, but didn't patent it because it reaslied the significance of the invention in saving lives. Arguably, in 50 years time, we'll be celebrating a similiar anniversary except this time it will be a device that's saved as many pedestrians as the seatbelts as saved occupants.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hay fever relief from Volvo

Volvo is offering relief to millions of hay fever sufferers facing another summer of streaming eyes and sudden sneezes by providing a cabin of safe haven. All new Volvo models are fitted as standard with pollen filters and cabin air quality monitoring systems to create the healthiest passenger environment possible.

Hay fever effects 20 per cent of the UK population and with symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes liable to affect a motorists ability to drive safely, it's a situation Volvo takes very seriously.

So seriously in fact, that it fits pollen filters to all its vehicles and has developed air quality monitoring systems that have been recommended by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association. The technology ensures that air passing through the vehicle is filtered to remove pollen and other airborne allergens before they reach occupants in the cabin.

Volvo has two solutions to improve the air quality inside the car - Air Quality System (AQS) with a pollen filter and the Clean Zone Interior Package (CZIP) - both of which are designed to provide relief to the millions of people in the UK who suffer with hay fever.

The Air Quality System and Pollen Filter are standard on all new Volvos and ensures that air inside the cabin is as clean as possible by continuously monitoring the amount of incoming air pollutants such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone. If it senses the levels are rising too high, it temporarily closes the exterior air inlets. It also features a layer of active charcoal to remove odours and ground level ozone before they reach the cabin. The AQS works in conjunction with the standard Electronic Climate Control (ECC) to ensure a comfortable and safer environment inside the car, which is especially important for corporate drivers accustomed to spending many hours behind the wheel.

The Clean Zone Interior Package provides an interior with materials that avoid collecting dust, such as natural rubber mats instead of dust-collecting textile ones, and upholstery that conforms to the regulations set out by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association. It also includes a unique remotely controlled cabin ventilation system which automatically refreshes the car's interior as soon as it is unlocked via the remote key fob to ensure stale air is removed as quickly as possible when the driver climbs aboard. CZIP is available as an option on S80, V70, XC70 and XC60 and costs £125 (including VAT).

"Millions of people in the UK suffer from hay fever and other allergies, so it makes sense for us to focus attention on improving air quality and minimise any potential safety risk that could arise from an allergic reaction while driving," said Peter Rask, Volvo Car UK managing director.

"Our concern isn't just restricted to new vehicle buyers either. Pollen filters are replaced as part of the regular routine service at Volvo dealers, so the benefits also apply to customers purchasing older, used vehicles too."

One-Two in Sweden

The 2009 Swedish Touring Car Championship season opened this weekend at Mantorp Park and the season-opener turned into a whitewash for Volvo fans. The Volvo team Polestar with drivers Robert Dahlgren and Tommy Rustad led from the front all weekend, with Dahlgren claiming pole position and Rustad qualifing in second position on the starting grid. The race itself was equally impressive. The Volvo drivers defended their positions through Mantorps infamous start corner and continued to pull away lap after lap. Fourteen laps later, Volvo had a double victory in the bag. Dahlgren won and Rustad took second place.

Proof, if ever it were needed, that the golden days of Volvo's Touring cars where 850 Estates went wheel-to-wheel with BMWs and Vauxhalls, aren't over just yet.
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