Volvo has announced that starting in 2019 it will offer only electrified vehicles — full electrics, plug-in hybrids and 48-volt mild hybrids.
One of the main reasons for the proliferation of various EVs has been the passage in the U.S. of very high corporate average fuel economy standards that are considered impossible to meet without a mixture of electrics. And Europe has very strict carbon dioxide regulations that also encourage companies to have EVs in their mix.
But it would appear that Volvo's leaders are willing to bet the farm by using only electrified powertrains.
They are very smart or very dumb. Time will tell how they fare.
Certainly as the only major automaker owned by the Chinese, Volvo has a different take on the world auto market. But even if the company's decision is right, I would guess that it is a decade or two early.
Whether Volvo will be able to survive until the world marketplace comes around to its point of view remains to be seen. But in the meantime, if I was a U.S. dealer I'd be worried about my financial health and well-being.
There will no doubt be a large number of consumers in America who will gravitate to Volvos simply because of what the company is doing with electrified vehicles. But whether that will be enough to keep the doors open and the lights on is a big gamble — a gamble that the company is taking with a lot of employees that don't work for Volvo directly.
It is a fascinating experiment that is being done with others' capital. I fear that it is a bad decision for dealers and suppliers, though only time will tell. Still, perhaps someone had to try it.
Volvo once owned the safety segment. Now it is trying to own the electrified-vehicle position.
We wish them luck.