Volvo Cars will break next week with the auto show tradition in Los Angeles, where it will not have a car on its stand.
Volvo's decision is because more and more car manufacturers are skipping car shows – the Swedish car manufacturer says that he will not be attending the Geneva auto show in 2019 – or reducing his presence to focus on other types of marketing.
An example is that some car manufacturers are launching new cars at a single event that is streamed live to reach a global audience directly.
Volvo's plans for the car show in Los Angeles give another twist, according to a CEO, who said that the courageous step is taken to underline how the massive disruption that the car industry is undergoing requires a new approach.
"We are trying to shift our focus from doing what we have done over the past 90 years," Volvo Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy Marten Levenstam told Automotive News. "Now it's time to do other things in a different way, this is just one example."
Another example came in September when Volvo suggested that its fully autonomous, fully electric 360c concept car could win a large part of the short-haul flights for business trips of billions of dollars.
Levenstam was one of the masterminds behind that proposal and he also played an important role in Volvo's unorthodox plans for the show in Los Angeles, where the car manufacturer intends to prominently display the following statement: This Is not A Car.
Levenstam said that the statement was inspired by his love for contemporary art, in particular the painting by René Magritte: "This is Not a Pipe", a painting of a pipe. He said Volvo decided to use This Is Not A Car "because we think it's much more now."
Instead of cars, Volvo will use its display area for interactive demonstrations of connectivity services, such as in-car delivery; his vision of autonomous driving and his Care by Volvo subscription plan for vehicles.
The stand will also be used to show Volvo's plans for car sharing. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement that Volvo wants to go beyond just building and selling cars.
"We will truly offer our customers the freedom to move in a personal, sustainable and secure way," the CEO added.
Volvo also plans to use the show to emphasize its strong belief in strategic partnerships. The list of employees who share the stage with the automaker in Los Angeles includes Amazon, Google and chipmaker Nvidia.
Levenstam said that Volvo's openness for collaboration has helped to quickly connect with new partners.
"It resonates very well with them what type of company we are," said Levenstam. "We are smaller than most OEMs, we are a bit faster and we are open to new ideas."
Volvo will use the powerful Drive AGX Xavier technology from Nvidia in its next-generation cars to help those models be able to autonomously drive at level 4. Meanwhile, Volvo has worked with Amazon to deliver customer packages. provide for the delivery of parcels in the United States.