For many Aucklanders, Thursday night may be rather unremarkable for the most part, apart from being a day away from the weekend, there’s nothing else to make it momentous. On the contrary, the Thursday just gone saw something quite significant take place on Auckland’s North Shore.
Years in the making, Volvo New Zealand finally opened their highly anticipated flagship store!
The new flagship is special for several reasons. At the time of its opening, it became the largest Volvo dealership in Australasia and with 50% of Kiwi Volvo buyers located in the ‘Big Smoke’, Auckland was the ideal place for it to be. Located in the very region of Auckland that was tragically struck by severe flooding in January/February this year, the construction team did a fantastic job to turn it around in the months since then. And what a place it turned out be!
As you can imagine, the whole event had a Swedish flavour to it barring the food which was Danish (I mean Southern Swedish) in nature! The architecture incorporated materials in a typical Swede style, simple, functional and eye catching without being showy. In a way, that explains Volvo itself. The brand has long perfected the art of understated luxury, offering the bells and whistles without being gaudy. Upon entering the showroom, we were greeted by a very friendly staff member handing out lottery tickets to the three prizes that were up for grabs on the night. Based on our results, Harry and I should probably avoid betting to say the least.
As far as safe bets go, you can’t best Volvo! And the new dealership was a great segue between the brand’s history and their future direction. We were greeted by a gorgeous P1800S in the main lobby of the showroom while hiding in the workshop area were reminders of the old “Volvo bricks” like the 850R and 246GL. The moment was all the more heartfelt considering the brand have now pulled wagons and sedans off their catalogue in the UK, bringing an end to a motoring dynasty.
As unfortunate as that is, we were there to celebrate this new step forward for Volvo and what a celebration it was! Memorable introductory comments were made by Shaun Summerfield of the Giltrap Group who then handed the mic over to Vernon Brown, GM of Volvo North Shore before Michael Giltrap took to the stage. Afterwards, Shaun put the head honchos of Volvo New Zealand and Volvo Australia in the hot seat. Ben and Stephen answered his questions well without divulging too much information about the brand’s future plans.
However, there were a few news scoops to be had for Kiwi Volvo buyers and enthusiasts! The revolutionary EX30 will be here later this year with customer deliveries beginning from as early as Q1/Q2 next year! The top spec EX30 is not only the fastest Volvo ever but is expected to make up about 30% of the brand’s global sales too. On that electric note, Volvo are planning several new EVs over the next few years, beginning with the EX30, EX90 and then another revolutionary electric car in 2025 which could well be a new EX60!
Volvo are not a short term thinking brand though, their vision very much incorporates a significant future ahead. The brand has made no effort to hide their commitment to sustainability with fully electric status beginning from 2030 with the brand stating a climate neutral goal of 2040. That’s not a dream, it’s reality and Volvo are going to make it happen! Three of their factories are already climate neutral and the EX30 is a huge step in that direction as made clear by the ingenious “Unboxing” reveal video below:
Overall, the night was a deserved grand success for a brand making its mark on the vehicle industry while easing its footprint on the environment. Congratulations and well done Volvo New Zealand on a fantastic new facility and I look forward to returning in my capacity as an owner!
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Thanks for the invite Volvo New Zealand! Words and pictures by Matthew D’Souza.