retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Add Volvo to the list of car manufacturers making the transition to electric vehicles.

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Volvo says it will make only electric vehicles by 2030. But if you want one, you’ll have to buy it online.

"The Swedish automaker said Tuesday that it is phasing out the production of all cars with internal combustion engines - including hybrids … Volvo also said that, while its all-electric vehicles will be sold exclusively online, dealerships will 'remain a crucial part of the customer experience and will continue to be responsible for a variety of important services such as selling, preparing, delivering and servicing cars'."

KC's View:

Well, maybe not quite as crucial.

That line seems like it was inserted by lawyers to tamp down on any uproar by current Volvo dealerships.

The fact is that for many people, the shopping experience starts online, as they gather information about the cars they are considering.  They go to dealerships to see the cars, take them for test drives, and handle the details … but there is no reason to go into a dealership to haggle with salespeople.  That's so 20th century.

Volvo may have a physical presence, but it is going to change … the company is smart to embrace it and get ahead of the trend, rather than wait for consumers to force the change down the road.

Which is a pretty good lesson for every kind of retailer.  Audentes Fortuna Juvat.

And that doesn't even factor in the degree to which Volvo is joining with other car companies to embrace the electric vehicle revolution … moving away from fossil fuels in a way that is even ahead of where public policy seems to be at the moment.

A decade from now, we're clearly going to be living in a different world.  Better to define it than to be defined as resistant to it, or out of touch with it.