Volvo Cars of North America Inc. still emphasizes safety in its advertising. But to compete with other luxury brands, Volvo also is marketing vehicles with messages that stress passion and performance.
"Safety is part of everything we do," says John Maloney, Volvo's vice president of communications. "But we needed to add other elements, like styling and performance and fun-to-drive."
Volvo's "protection for life" ad theme remains in place. Now, though, it is talking about other attributes as well.
Volvo has turbocharged its cars since the 1980s. But it is placing a renewed emphasis on performance with its redesigned S40 and S60 cars, and especially this year's V-8 XC90 premium sport wagon.
The V-8 XC90 produces 311 hp, up from the 268 hp of its twin-turbo predecessor. About 30 percent of luxury SUV buyers choose a V-8, Volvo says.
Maloney says Volvo "might be the most well-defined car brand" among consumers because of its association with safety. Adding a performance message is not a big stretch, Volvo executives say.