Why Volvo won't be putting a car on its stand at the Automobility LA motor show

Less concept car, more "the concept of a car"

VOLVO is set to shock the motor industry at this year’s Automobility LA motor show, after confirming it won’t be taking a single car to the LA Convention Centre next week.

Instead, the Swedish brand wants to start a conversation about the future of motoring, in which it sees itself as a mobility provider, rather than a nuts and bolts manufacturer of vehicles.

The main feature on Volvo’s stand at Automobility LA will be a modernist sign that reads “This Is Not A Car”. Other interactive displays will detail the many ideas that Volvo is pursuing, such as car sharing, autonomous driving and a new car subscription service. A source close to Volvo suggested customers may be able to order services and accessories via an app as part of an ongoing monthly fee.

“By calling the trade show Automobility LA, the organisers have recognised the disruption affecting our industry,” said Mårten Levenstam, responsible for product strategy at Volvo Cars.

“We want to demonstrate that we got the memo … so instead of bringing a concept car, we talk about the concept of a car. We will not win the ‘car of the show’ award this year, but we are comfortable with that.”

Volvo’s unique motor show spin follows an announcement in June this year in which it revealed it would concentrate on “bespoke activities” instead of “traditional auto industry events”.

Part of this focus will mean Volvo will skip the 2019 Geneva Motor Show — a high-profile event at which car makers tend to unveil their most important new models of the year.

This doesn’t mean Volvo hasn’t got any new cars on the way, of course. Next year will see the launch of the new S60 saloon, V60 Cross Country and a new V60 R-Design trim level. And performance sub-brand Polestar is set to launch a Porsche 911-rivaling sports car in 2019.

But underlining the changing face of the car industry, from 2019 all Volvos will have electrified variants, and it claims that from 2021 a “fully-autonomous capable” Volvo will go on sale.

High voltage: all Volvos will be hybrid or pure-electric from 2019

This brand has been voted most-trusted for self-driving cars

Volvo’s Polestar sports brand reveals hybrid Porsche rival