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Discussion Starter #1

Volvo has issued the following press release:

Your Concept Car - bold but elegant exterior

The YCC is a car of many contrasts. It is functional and user friendly, yet sporty and emotional. Its exterior styling strikes a balance between all these qualities. That is why the YCC has:
o a low front end and a long rear window, for an excellent view all round
o bumpers and lower side sections covered with a tough, durable material, in contrast to its suave upper bodywork
o muscular shoulders and catwalk
o gull-wing doors
o headlights with an ethereal, liquid quality
An excellent view from the driver's seat was high on YCC wish-lists. In many cars, it can be difficult to see to all four corners. This can make a car hard to park or to pilot through tight spots. But in the YCC it is easy to see where the car starts and where it ends, because the front end is low, the fenders have been brought into sight and the traditional Volvo V on the bonnet section has been inverted. The effect is reminiscent of the Volvo P1800, giving the car a sporty look and the driver full command of the situation ahead. The equivalent has been achieved at the rear end, where the rear window extends almost all the way to where the car ends.

Chameleon with variable ride height
The YCC is as big as the Volvo S60. Its variable ride height function enables it to be raised or lowered either when driving or when parked. It is a car which combines sportiness and robustness and the exterior design strives for a balance between these characteristics. Its skidplates emphasize the functionality.

Ice effect
The head- and tail-lights are important elements of the YCC's styling. The headlights are lenses of transparent thermoplastic which project the light from banks of LEDs. The effect is that of light emanating from a block of ice. No bulbs or LEDs visible, just light.
The rear light clusters enhance the characteristic look of this Volvo. Here the red section flows seamlessly into the yellow.
The high-level brake light is at the top edge of the rear window. If the driver brakes hard, the red area grows bigger. If the driver has to brake extra hard, the brake light pulsates.

Gull-wing doors of short wing span
The YCC was designed with wide side door openings.
o for better display of the car interior
o for easier back seat loading and unloading
o to make it an easier car to get in and out of.

Eye-catching gull-wing doors of short wing span were the perfect answer for the YCC.
When closed, the gull-wing door extends only as far as the bottom of the painted body sections, which means that it extends only 60 cm out from the car when opened. Less space than many conventional car doors need to open fully.

As the gull-wing door opens upwards, the sill section below it opens out and down. The advantages are that there is no high sill to climb over and that the surface presented is always a clean one.
Another advantage of the door solution is that the B-pillar has been moved further back, further enhancing the driver's view of the road.

Your Concept Car - a personal living room with everything you want within reach
The YCC was designed to suit the individual. You choose the information and settings you want. You choose how you like the interior to look and how high you like to ride. Some of the interior benefits in the YCC are:
o Ergovision - ergonomics plus optimum line of vision in a patented concept
o easy to get in and out of
o airy interior characterised by an extreme sense of space
o everything within reach
o multi-purpose storage
o light interior with honest materials
o more a living room than a lounge or a cockpit, with modern furnishing fabrics
o choice of eight upholstery and carpet styles, easily switched to match mood, season or trends
When the gull-wing door opens up, the door sill rotates down, making it easier for driver and passengers to get in and out of the car. The drop-down sill has a dual function (besides allowing a smaller wing span for the gull-wing door): it makes for easier entry and exit and it also presents a clean interior surface. No risk of brushing against grimy car exterior surfaces and soiling your clothes.
Inside the car too, interior designer Cindy Charwick wanted to improve access and comfort for the driver. When you get into the car, the side support in the seat will have been lowered for you.

Personalised driving position
A key ambition in developing the YCC was to ensure that the driver, regardless of height, would be able to sit correctly when driving and have the right line of vision too. The result was Ergovision (patent pending) - ergonomics and optimum line of vision in one system.
Your whole body is scanned at the dealership, then this data is used to define a driving position just for you. This is stored in digital form on your key unit. Once you get into the driver's seat and dock your key on the centre console, the seat, steering wheel, pedals, head restraint and seat belt will all be adjusted automatically to suit your personal build. The result is a sound driving position with the best line of vision for you.
The YCC has other features designed to make your driving posture as comfortable as possible, for trouble-free driving. The design philosophy was that, wherever the car can be made to adapt itself to suit the driver, this provision should be made. Because the height of the driver's shoe heels may differ from one day to the next, the driver heel rest was made fully adjustable. And the head restraint has been adapted to cater for hair styles like pony-tails.

Space and convenience
The interior design of the YCC is a balance between the driver's need for as much space as possible and the need to have all the most important things within easy reach.
Inside the car, she has echoed the flowing lines of the exterior styling. The instrument panel is S-shaped, adding to the sense of space and air in the cabin.
And to reinforce the floating, hovering impression the exterior gives, with its colour-change paint and the lift of its gull-wing doors, the front seat mountings have been moved inwards, out of sight. The seats look as though they are hovering above the floor.
Elegance is built into other interior features too. The ambient lighting follows the lines of the car at the side, the ventilation is concealed and the roof lining between the glazed moon roof is a shimmering star ceiling produced through a unique material made by fibre optics.

Controls and instruments
The YCC is packed with smart technology, but the technology has not been allowed to complicate matters for the driver. So the instrument panel is clean cut, simple and restrained. There are few instruments, but those there are are close to your line of sight. The gear levers are by the steering wheel.
All non-essentials have been removed - what you see is your speed, how far you can drive before you need to refuel and how to find your way. In other words, a speedometer, a distance indicator and a navigation system. All other information can be accessed using the control panel alongside the steering wheel. Everything is easy to reach, easy to understand and easy to operate.

The YCC has storage options in new places. Moving the gear levers up by the steering wheel and making the electronic parking brake automatic has freed up all the space between the front seats. An ideal place for keeping things you might want on the journey. Drivers should not have to worry about things like mobiles ringing or where to find some small change in a hurry. Here there are both shallow compartments and deep ones, with room for things like your notebook computer, handbag, parking money, drinks, keys, CDs and mobile phone.


7,859 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
All-female Volvo gets mixed reviews; design cues could be used in future

By MARK RECHTIN | Automotive News

GENEVA -- Don't call it a chick car. Volvo Car Corp. gave a team of women the opportunity to create a concept car filled with touches that women motorists have wanted. But it also included things that men didn't realize they wanted until they saw the amenities. Called the YCC, for "Your Concept Car," the stylish Volvo coupe unveiled here was described as everything from a design curiosity to a public relations stunt. Although Volvo officials said the concept will not survive intact as a production model, many of its design cues and interior ideas could be incorporated in next-generation vehicles. "I am convinced male buyers will love this car," said Volvo CEO Hans-Olov Olsson at the vehicle's unveiling. "This is not a boxy pink family car with lots of child seats." Project manager Camilla Palmertz said that the ideas behind the car were smart and not limited in their appeal by gender. "Men saw the car and said they didn't expect this," she said. "They saw a good exterior and good interior solutions and said: 'This makes sense.' "But women saw the good exterior and liked it, then saw the good interior solutions and said: 'Finally!' " Hans Folkesson, Volvo's chief engineer, said the automaker got feedback on the team's r&d efforts from typical car owners rather than "motor freaks." "We wanted to spend money only on traditional features, roominess and ease of use," Folkesson said. "Do we need cars with 1,001 horsepower that go 350 kilometers an hour? Humans are not meant to go that fast. We spent money on the things people value." In creating the concept, Volvo opened a no-win can of political worms. In the old-boy auto industry, announcing that a car was designed by women - or for women - often has created a credibility gap. Past efforts at styling a car for women have failed. Market research truisms long have held that women gladly will buy a car made for a man, but not vice versa. At the concept unveiling, there was significant scoffing at certain design touches, such as the absence of a hood opening for the engine. If wags didn't know that women designed the car, they might conclude the feature shows Volvo's confidence in the reliability of the powertrain. But because women were involved in the design, critics quickly snubbed the look because of the stereotypical rationale that women don't care to look at engines or get their hands dirty. At the same time, clinics showed that some of the car's ostensibly feminine touches helped men as well. Asked if they had trouble parallel parking, about half of the women polled said yes, while few men did so. But when they demonstrated that skill, drivers of both sexes showed an equal measure of incompetence, Palmertz said. "One Spanish guy parked by ear, you know, smash, smash, smash," she said. Both women and men would appreciate the electronic system that allows the car to parallel park itself, she said. Should Volvo have presented the car without disclosing that women designed it? Responses varied, even within Volvo. "There are women architects, and it's not like there are houses that only women can live in," said Anna Rosen, the concept's exterior designer. "We didn't have a political agenda put into the project. It's a good project because of what it is." Folkesson said he would rather assign the best engineers and designers to a project, regardless of sex. "About 15 percent of Volvo engineers are women," he said. "But we have very few female electrical engineers, so it would either have to be a man or else a woman who is a rookie. I don't think Volvo customers would be willing to sacrifice something not working just because it was done by a woman." Shiro Nakamura, Nissan Motor's design chief, said he would not have created a team of women as the only decision makers. Nakamura is leading efforts at Nissan aimed at attracting more women employees and improving the treatment of women customers in Nissan showrooms. "The car is still dominated by the barrier of men," Nakamura said. "We judge things by the male perspective, and we may make a mistake because what a man sees and what a female sees is different. "I support what Volvo did," he added. "I just hope Volvo's female team represents something going on underneath at Volvo, that it's not just a show car, a public relations issue." A female product planner at a rival automaker, who requested anonymity, didn't think much of Volvo's effort. She said: "It shows women can mess up a car just as badly as men."
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