Volvo tweaks subscription service, adding crossovers, vehicles on lot

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The reboot comes as Care by Volvo has faced some dealer pushback.

The California New Car Dealers Association, which represents nearly two dozen Volvo dealers, filed a petition Jan. 15 with California’s New Motor Vehicle Board, arguing that the Care by Volvo subscription program violates state law meant to prohibit manufacturers from competing with their franchisees.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles will investigate Volvo’s subscription program for violations of state franchise laws following arguments by the dealer association before the motor vehicle board this month. The board unanimously voted Aug. 15 to direct the state DMV to investigate Care by Volvo and four claims that the program violates provisions of the state vehicle code, according to the dealer association. If violations are found, it may lead to disciplinary action against Volvo’s DMV license, according to the dealer group.

Gustafsson said Volvo has not been asked to discontinue Care by Volvo and welcomes the California DMV investigation.

“Someone is making a mountain out of a molehill,” Gustafsson said. “If we have done something wrong, we will change it. We don’t think we have done anything wrong, and it has never been our intention.”

Gustafsson suggested the California New Car Dealers Association is undermining Volvo’s program on the behest of the group’s non-Volvo dealer members, concerned subscription programs will catch on.

“We are such a small player,” he said. “They are nervous that if we have a success with this, the really big [automakers] … will start to implement” subscriptions.

For Volvo, the subscription program has been a learning experience.

“It has been a bumpy start with a lot of emotions. We have learned and we have listened,” Gustafsson said. “The majority of the dealers understand what we are trying to achieve.”

Gustafsson is confident the subscription program, one of the top three priorities for the company, will continue and evolve.

Care by Volvo is “100 percent prioritized,” he said.

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