It was a first for Shelly Seymour and Bud Kennedy, of Fort Worth Texas, but for Sharon and Theun Van der Veen, of St. Petersburg, Florida, it was their third time. “It” was buying a new Volvo through this Scandinavian automaker’s unique program, and taking delivery in Sweden or a dozen other locations in Europe, with a collection of freebies and supports to start you on your way to a European vacation to any destination of your choice. Following your travel, your vehicle is sent at no-cost to the U.S. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t! Trust me, I just returned from Sweden on a trip to “test drive” the program and the updated Volvo XC70.
“It’s the most well-hidden secret at Volvo,” said Anders Robertson, manager of Overseas Delivery, Volvo cars North America. “With a lot of the legwork done, we think it’s an easier, safer way to see a new part of the world, “enthused Robertson, who said that some 2,000 U.S. buyers will take advantage of the program this year that “attracts those who are a little more adventurous and link a car with adventure.”
“You can choose how adventurous you are,” explained Robertson. “You can travel close by, or take a longer adventure, see relatives in Europe or check out your heritage. The program began in 1956, with a growing number of American diplomats, servicemen and tourists in Europe that had fallen in love with Volvo and wanted to take their ‘souvenir’ with them back to the U.S.” There were 17 cars delivered that first year.
Our seven day adventure began with a two-night stay in Gothenburg, Sweden, the home of Volvo. All transportation was provided by Volvo’s concierge service, which took us to an attractive hotel in this picturesque, modern-day city that is the largest port in Scandinavia, plus delivered us to the Volvo headquarters and Safety Center the following day, where we were given tours and a walk-around of our Volvo XC70, before we began our travel. Our personal travel concierge, Ann-Charlotte Carlsson of the West Sweden Tourist Bureau, had set up a route and itinerary prior to our arrival in Sweden through Internet communication, and then met with us to go over maps and last-minute details.
Our motoring adventure to the north of Gothenburg included visits to an art museum; an outdoor sculpture garden on land that was used as an ancient burial ground for early settlers; boat travel along the canals of Gothenburg and to the most westerly island of Sweden; a sauna in the world’s only floating sauna- adjacent to the world’s only floating hotel; as well as scenic drives through small coastal villages. It was ample opportunity to evaluate a host of safety and comfort and convenience technologies in this crossover model that drives with true European handling!