If you live outside of Makati, and unless you’re really a die-hard Volvo owner, you’ll find regular vehicle checkups to be a test of patience. Definitely there are no complaints about the quality of service; rather, it’s navigating one of the densest districts of Metro Manila that turns this chore into a bother.
But with two new Volvo dealerships opening in the first quarter of 2013 located at Quezon City and Alabang, each one strategically positioned north and south respectively of Makati’s central business district, having a Volvo simply becomes sheer pleasure.
Suddenly, you can relate to Chris Tiu or Derek Ramsey, two popular local celebrities who are loyal Volvo owners: you feel like a superstar.
In part, listening to Loi de Guzman, assistant vice president for marketing services of Viking Cars Inc., exclusive distributor of Volvo in the Philippines, you understand what she means when she says that 2013’s marketing campaign will revolve around the brand being “Designed around You.”
“For Volvo Philippines, the global campaign can be translated to new dealerships, new products, new aftersales offers and a new ownership experience,” De Guzman states.
The two new dealerships fitfully complement the activities at the Makati main office and showroom, as much as two satellite dealerships in Bacolod and Iloilo support the Volvo Cebu
office operations. So if you’re looking at a Google map, you now see six blinking lights when there had only been one.
Volvo North Edsa is located at the Eton Centris compound, while Volvo Alabang can be found at the Filinvest Center in Alabang Westgate.
Having more sales and service points across the country, however, is only part of Volvo’s positioning in 2013. This year, Viking Cars is bringing in the All-New Volvo V40 D4 and the All-New Volvo V40 XC D4, which markedly deviates from the conservative look of previous models.
Set to compete in the premium hatchback class, the V40 exudes a sleek, compact look but offers the legroom that the larger Volvos are known for. One of its stronger features is the panorama glass roof that is perfect for country cruising. Both have 2-liter turbo-diesel engines with 6-speed Geartronic transmissions.
The XC Cross Country variant, in particular, boasts of ruggedness that has sportiness and comfort. It retains the wheels of the Volvo V70 plus the rear space that is ideal for out-of-town adventure rides.
The two models, priced at P2.495 million and P2.895 million, are outright invitations to owners of other luxury sedan brands who are thinking of trying out a European design with the trend-setting and safety features of a Volvo.
One of the challenges of a wider sales network will be delivery of aftersales services, the quality of which Viking is very particular about. For 2013, Volvo is bringing Volvo Service 2.0 in the postpurchase care of customers’ cars. The service includes free updates of the car’s software, alternative transport when bringing your car for servicing, health check, car wash, and personal service contact.
For the Volvo enthusiast who wants to get more power from his/her vehicle, Polestar performance tuning is available. This optimization consists of a software upgrade that fires up the engine up to 329 HP and 480 Nm of torque. This is enough power guaranteed to leave behind most challengers.
By bringing Volvo to a wider market, Froilan Valencia, assistant vice president for sales services at Viking, sees the brand poised for a stronger 2013. His new dealers, for example, are raring to unleash their sales people, and will hopefully capture a bigger slice of the market.
“By expanding to new markets, we are bringing the Volvo experience to more people,” Valencia says. And with a wider product offering, larger distribution network, and strong track record in terms of loyalty to the brand, “we hope to continue our front-running market performance,” he adds.
The All-New Volvo V40 at a glance:
— Low and wide front design—high-gloss grille that is low and wide in order to create a sporty, close-to-the-ground feel. Daytime running lights are set into the lower corners of the front end, sweeping upward from direct front view. The “blade design” of the front headlights creates an attractive light pattern in the dark.
— Panorama glass roof—a fixed panorama glass roof that stretches from the front windscreen to the backrest of the rear seats.
— Fully graphic display—a new fully graphic instrument cluster that expresses emotional functionality, always displaying the most important information in any given situation right in front of the driver.
— In control via the steering wheel—the full-color Volvo Sensus displays all information in the upper part of the instrument panel while making it easy for the driver to keep his/her eyes on the road.
— Audio and information—Bluetooth connection allows not only hands-free phone conversations but also music streaming from your preferred Bluetooth enabled portable music player.
— Dynamic chassis standard—the rigid body and low center of gravity promote an alert, quick-responding character that focuses on the driving experience, without compromising ride comfort.
— Steering with precise response—the steering column’s thick tubing and stiff insulator increase torsional rigidity. This also contributes to the enhanced feeling of direct contact with the wheels and the road.
The Electrical Power Assist Steering (EPAS) uses an electrical motor to support the steering rack, and the driver can choose between three levels of power assistance.
— Range of eager petrol engines—the five-cylinder 2.5-liter turbocharged T5 engine has a power output of 254 HP and 400 Nm of torque, including 40 Nm overboost delivered during acceleration.
— Smooth Powershift transmission—the T5 version comes with a six-speed automatic gearbox, while the T4 is available in combination with the automatic six-speed Powershift transmission. The T3 comes with a manual gearbox
— Fuel-efficient diesels—the five-cylinder 2.0-liter D4 turbodiesel has been optimized for fuel-efficient driving pleasure.
— Park assist pilot—makes parallel parking easy
— Lane keeping aid—active help to stay on course
— Enhanced Blind Spot Information System—the enhanced Blind Sport Information System (BLIS), which is radar-based, can monitor and alert the driver to rapidly approaching vehicles up to 70 meters behind the car.
— Cross traffic alert—uses radar sensors at the rear end of the car to alert the driver to crossing traffic from the sides when reversing out of a parking space.
— Adaptive cruise control and distance alert—promotes comfortable driving by using radar to automatically maintain a set time gap to the car in front.
— Pedestrian detection—full auto brake is a technology that can detect if a pedestrian steps out into the road in front of the car.
— Pedestrian airbag technology—a world’s first, an inflated airbag is raised to cover one-third of the windscreen area and the lower part of the A-pillar to mitigate the consequences if a collision with a pedestrian is unavoidable.
— Collision warning and auto brake—the car automatically brakes if there is a risk of collision with another vehicle in front.
— City Safety—an upgraded City Safety system allows the car to automatically brake if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops—or if the car is approaching a stationary vehicle too fast.