Carmakers do listen if you're loud enough, and while I was told in Sweden that our beloved Concept Estate is not reaching production anytime soon, Volvo's response to a Canadian enthusiast's letter gave me an idea.
Here's what Thomas sent to Volvo Canada's Customer Care Team:
I've been driving in Volvos for more or less my entire life. The last car that my parents bought new was a 1979 Volvo 244 GL from Van Herpt in Kingston. After that they moved to Winnipeg and purchased a second 244 second hand. From there they moved to Halifax where they sold the 244's and got a 245 which I fondly remember looking out the window of from the rear facing seats. They have since moved on to other makes and models (they were Saab faithfuls when they were around) but I have always been drawn back to Volvo's.
A little over two years ago I bought a 1989 Volvo 244 DL, my first Volvo. It was only meant to get me through a winter but ended up making it through two. It's still on the road but I had to sell it as the blower motor was going and that would make for a long winter in Ottawa. You may remember that the 244 was basically built from the blower out, so the repair was a little out of my ability. I loved that car though, I gained a lot of knowledge tinkering with it.
Now I am driving a 1998 V70R. I have never had a more comfortable car and I am looking forward to tackling winter in it. I've almost made it into the current millennium. That's where you come in.
Like my parents, I find it hard to swallow the loss in value that occurs when you drive a new car of the lot. That said, if the Concept Estate that was released last year makes it to market I will bite the bullet as I will never sell that car. I haven't been excited about a new car like this since I was a little kid.
Thanks for hanging in there and not going under like so many other brands unfortunately have. The new XC90 looks great too, but I'm holding out for the Estate. If that makes it out of concept I will be make the trip to Van Herpt and sign the paperwork the next day. Thanks for your time, and thanks for making great cars.
Volvo's response was the following:
Thank you for your email and interest in our Concept Estate vehicle. Since the unveiling, the response to this vehicle has been overwhelming. The Concept Estate reveals how the interior of future Volvo vehicles will look and function and we are very excited about the introduction of these features in the near future.
While there are currently no plans to put the Concept Estate into production, it appears that the market response may dictate that we re-visit this decision. If there are any changes regarding the production plans for the Concept Estate, rest assured that it will be well communicated. (...)
Volvo's new scalable platform, the SPA makes production of such vehicles easier than you'd think, but since we're talking about Volvo Canada here, let's stay in Halifax for a second. After all, the Swedish built cars there for 35 years...
Volvo started sending knock-down kits to Dartmouth, where an assembly plant was built on the site of the old Acadia Sugar Refinery at the harbor's Eastern Passage. It was the first non-domestic auto plant in North America and saved Volvo about 7% by avoiding the US import taxes.
They only built a few thousand cars annually including Amazons rebadged as Canadian GTs before Volvo moved the whole operation to a larger plant in Bayer's Lake, Nova Scotia. The numbers kept climbing for decades until Volvo decided to shut the place in 1998, blaming the North American Free Trade Agreement for the decision.
The last Canadian Volvo rolled off the line on December 13, but the building still stands at 115 Chain Lake Drive:
What Volvo Canada should be aiming for is Volvo's own Special Operations set up right there, much like the one Jaguar Land Rover has. That way, while the homeland is busy cheating death and Polestaring the hell out of the lineup, a small team of dedicated Canadians could give us what we want.
A beautiful shooting brake in brown with a manual and three turbos. So just keep nagging them.
Photo credit: Volvo,Google and the Nova Scotia Archives.