Volvo Is So Thirsty for Millennials
Its new SUV comes with a subscription service and baby-blue paint. But the Olds might love it too.
BY Kevin Sintumuang | Jun 25, 2018 | Feature
Oh, to be young and have corporations jockey for your bitcoin. When it comes to cars, the newly post-collegiate have always been a slippery demographic companies have tried to capture by any means possible—they will soon be in the market for pricier midlife-crisis-mobiles, after all. The Volkswagen Beetle became America’s best-selling import in the ’60s and early ’70s thanks in part to its adoption by the youthful free-love set. Kia’s languid sales skyrocketed after it launched an irreverent marketing campaign with dancing hamsters that targeted millennials. Mercedes-Benz has stopped sponsoring German soccer and started pouring marketing money into esports. (What’s that? Ask a teen.) And now Volvo hopes to grab a slice of the emoji pie with its hip new XC40 compact crossover. Not just through a bold design and colors like the retro-tastic blue based on the ’60s-era Amazon but by offering a new way to pay: by subscription.
NOT JUST THROUGH A BOLD DESIGN AND COLORS LIKE THE RETRO-TASTIC BLUE BASED ON THE ’60S-ERA AMAZON BUT BY OFFERING A NEW WAY TO PAY: BY SUBSCRIPTION
Whoa, hold the Swedish meatballs, the little Andy Rooney in all of us must be thinking. (Who’s that? Ask a boomer.) I’ll call a lamp a Duderö if the price is right, but a lease is a good ol’ lease. Negotiating with the salesperson, deflecting upsells, and having a frank talk with the dealer’s head of financial services are a rite of passage. (And don’t forget about purchasing insurance.) That’s how our fathers and our fathers’ fathers strapped into cars that cost above their means. Are you trying to disrupt the American dream, Ingmar?
The bold baby-blue color option of the XC40 is derived from the ’60s-era Volvo Amazon.
Let’s simplify the process, the Swedes thought. Remove “friction,” in Silicon Valley–speak. Instead of dragging yourself to a dealership, you can choose from a handful of nicely equipped XC40’s on the Care by Volvo site and click “Subscribe” as if you were re-upping on popcorn chicken from Blue Apron. After undergoing a credit check and being approved for insurance, you are now the subscriber of a brand-new XC40 for $600 a month (with a minimum 24-month commitment). Your only human interaction is when a retailer tosses you the keys and you hand him your phone to take a picture. Hold it vertically for Snapchat, bruh.
The service has been a success: For 90 percent of subscribers, this is their first Volvo. It makes the most sense if you’re young and/or live in a city where insurance rates are higher than average. Or if you’re just fed up with the old way of doing things.
The car itself is a response to the iterative, nesting-doll design of its German-crossover counterparts. (Brand identity is a double-edged sword, ain’t it?) The XC40 is easily the most Instagrammable in its category—the contrasting roof is fire, as the kids say. It has the bulldog charm of a Mini Cooper, the futuristic appeal of a Gundam robot, and the advantages of an actual SUV with all-wheel drive and ample ground clearance. The interior is filled with hidden hooks, cubbies, and drawers so that you can Kondo your cluttered commute into Swedish-furniture-showroom bliss. Plus, 0 to 60 in 6.1 seconds is peppy enough for you to briefly forget the inevitability of old age.
Is it all aimed at millennials? Basically. But the best disruption, and design, is age-blind.
From: Esquire US