W e D e s i g n V o l v o

Meet Lennart – The Expert on Volvo Models

Lennart by the shelf

Meet Lennart, the go-to-guy when it comes to licensing a Volvo car. If somewhere in the world, a Volvo is to be produced as a replica model, a toy or included in a computer game like Gran Turismo 5, Lennart makes sure the producer gets everything right and send e.g. CAD-drawings, physical measures or photographs around the world. For example, a factory in China might never have seen a Volvo so it’s of utmost importance that they get full support from Lennart. One of the tv-games that Volvo is a part of has sold 25 million copies, that’s a lot of Volvos and you certainly wouldn’t want there to be any kind of errors on them! 

Volvo Model & Lennart

Everyday he’s on the phone, in meetings or emailing with producers all over the world to guide them and ensure that Volvo looks the way it’s supposed to, it’s all about brand awareness. -“If someone in the world wants to produce a Volvo, I will support them. It takes on average three times to get it right for a producer. I mean I will get their prototype three times before I can approve it.”

Volvo Amazon Police

Lennart has worked at Volvo since 1974 when he got a job putting bumpers on the Volvo 240. He worked his way to the model workshop, a section still close to Lennarts’ heart. When talking about model cars, Lennart is quite the expert. The model is supposed to mirror the feeling of the actual car on the street. This means, you cannot make an exact copy, you have to adjust colors, sizes and angles to give the impression of what it looks like in real size. 

Volvo Model Car

"-A fun project was the XC90 models of the European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg. The cars transported the javelin and discus back to the throwers.” länk: 

Volvo Yellow 850 Detailed Model

Besides cars, Lennart is an extremely devoted fan of radio control model airplanes. He owns 18 planes, ranging from 32grams to 8kg, the biggest one have a petrol engine of 62cc! Lennarts favorite Volvo is the 780, and the 850 is a dream car. Though he does confess, when passing an Aston Martin DB9 Volante on the street, he can’t help but turn around.

The State of Design

This is a video about the desire to create something new. We discuss inspirations, dreams and the worst parts of being a designer.
To work with a project like this is of course a dream for a car designer. To be part of the evolution of a concept car is a very unique process that challenges you to always push the limits of car design.

In the video you can see my colleague Conny describing the creative process behind his design -  "Your mind kind of goes blank, you know, like when you are in flow, like when you’re driving really fast or dancing really well, you don’t think about anything. You just do it".

Obviously all designers have their own sources of inspiration and their own way of describing the creative process. As my other colleague Jonathan put it - "It’s like creating a sculpture…but with wheels"! I often get my inspiration from nature, exciting landscapes and sometimes from animals. It is also very inspiring to be in an environment like this, surrounded by inventive people and great car design. /Andreas

Craftsmanship, Kasthall

The exquisite and diverse craftsmanship required to create the Volvo Concept You has been discussed previously. In this video we focus on our cooperation partner Kasthall – renowned Swedish makers of exclusive and handtufted rugs. The designers at Kasthall talk about their thoughts when designing the rug for the Volvo Concept You. This attention to detail is needed when creating the luxurious Volvo Concept You.

Georg Jensen

The famous Danish design house Georg Jensen's jewellery, kitchenware and watches are the epitome of Scandinavian design with a minimalist and timeless ethos. It only seems natural for Volvo to cooperate with this icon of Scandinavian style when designing the Concept You.

Steering wheel

Grille and headlamp Lamp pencil sketches

Wheel design

The design of the wheels, the grille, the innovative headlamps and elements of the steering wheel (see the sketch above) have been inspired by the works of Georg Jensen. Their design represent uncluttered, organic surfaces and superb craftsmanship that radiate timeless luxury.

50 year anniversary of Volvo P1800


P1800 Turin

In 1961 one of Volvo’s most legendary design classics was launched: the Volvo P1800/1800. It became very famous as a result of its role in the films about "The Saint" in which the hero Simon Templar (Roger Moore) drove the car. The car was designed by Pelle Petterson who worked at the Turin-based car designer Pietro Frua. Production during the first years was contracted to England where final assembly took place at Jensen Motors. Assembly was then transferred to Göteborg and Lundbyverken 1963. Body production too was transferred to Sweden and Olofströmsverken. During the years the car received several engine upgrades and alternatives.

Volvo 1800 ES (Wikipedia)

(Source: Wikipedia)

Finally in 1972 the Volvo 1800 ES was introduced – a coupé station wagon designed by Jan Wilsgaard based on the 1800. The 1800 ES had an all-glass tailgate – a design element that has been used in several later Volvo models, e.g. the Volvo 480 ES and the current Volvo C30. The design vision of the P1800/1800 series was that of a sports car – elements of this can be found in the Volvo Concept You, particularly the interior. This year Volvo is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the P1800/1800 – we think we have incorporated that same original creative approach to car design when creating the Volvo Concept You.


One important source of inspiration for the design of the Volvo Concept You was the following: how do we design a luxury car with Scandinavian design? How do we make an exclusive and luxurious Volvo? Since most car designs today seem to be quite similar and based on complicated designs, we decided to look into our history and then go forward with a simple and minimalistic Scandinavian design.

Volvo Concept You Front

PV 544

Amazon front

Volvo’s design history have contributed to a number of design cues that are most visible in the front – we have incorporated the PV44 hood, the lower air intakes are inspired by the Amazon and finally the characteristic grill is shared with many other Volvo models. This Scandinavian heritage results in a design that is based on simple and solid surfaces, partially inspired by Georg Jensen’s famous jewelry design. /Jonathan

Thoughts after Frankfurt

Three questions to Jonathan:

1) What was the reaction in Frankfurt?

The reaction in Frankfurt was excellent! A normal guy of the street, someone who likes cars (not a Volvo fanatic!) came up to me and said: “I hope you build this car because it is so beautiful”, which was very nice to hear. At the motor show designers from other car brands have also praised the Concept You design. They really like the simplicity. Concept You was really one of the major cars of the show!

2) What part of the design was discussed?

Definitely the front end. Specially how the hood goes around the top. This connects with the Volvo heritage and the PV 544. People ask: is this really Volvo? Absolutely! It’s nice to provoke. People love the front when they see it for real. It’s something 

3) Did people react differently compared to the Shanghai and Concept Universe?

The interior has taken more focus. And the fact that is a coupé – a more European flavour. Here in Europe it seems to be more exclusive. It goes away from the traditional three box sedan design approach, which gives it a more visual impact. Lines can be longer. There’s more fluidity and the car looks faster and more sporty.

Touchscreens, video

In this video I show the main design features of the touchscreens and instrument clusters used in the Volvo Concept You. /Conny

Sound system from Alpine

The Volvo Concept You has a unique sound system developed in cooperation with Alpine. Part of the sound system is the FreshAir subwoofer which uses air outside of the car. This technology makes the subwoofer significantly lighter. In this video we explain how this sound technology from Alpine works.

Interior and details

Interior caption 1

Well-dressed gentleman – that is one of the visions for the interior design. Simple, clean and elegant forms. Forms that are suitable for materials. The wood panels are large and not purely decorative. The leather fits the forms with padded soft leather. The back doors are sweeping and, when closed, attach and integrate with the back seat. This is the Scandinavian design heritage – the right material for the right purpose. This perspective takes everyone in the car into account.

Interior caption 2

The interior is sporty and dark in the front, while the passenger environment is like a lounge: light, soft and smooth. The carpet is in one piece all the way from the front to the back. We tie this together with a wood panel that goes from dark in the front to light in the back. The carpet is also shaded similarly. /Conny

Interior design

Interior story 2

The main vision for the design of Concept You’s interior design is the notion of “designed around you”. The design of the interior reflects an intuitive and user-centred approach. We achieve this by going back to an old idea of creating separate interior zones – one for the driver in the front, and another for the passengers in the rear.

Interior story 3

The driver zone is dark while the passenger zone is covered in blond-coloured leather. The driver seat is made from a suit material from Swedish suit maker Oscar Jacobson which gives this luxurious upperclass gentry type feeling. The different colour zones create an overall “dark to light” design.

Interior story 1

The interior design is based on Volvo’s Scandinavian heritage founded on simplicity and purity - this results in an interior completely without buttons. /Jonathan


In this video we discuss the skilled craftsmanship required to make the Volvo Concept You – from the designers, carpenters, carpet makers to Swedish suit maker Oscar Jacobson and leather craftsmen. We also show how the car is handbuilt in Italy.

/Jonathan, Andreas and Conny

Exterior design


Notice the two small sunroofs - they are only for rear seat passengers. /Conny


Photographers tell me that Volvo Concept You is difficult to photograph because it is quite different depending on the point of view. It doesn’t have a traditional shoulder line. The shoulder line of Concept You runs diagonally although this is not always evident. From the front it appears as a wedge. From the rear it is quite laid back where the front is higher, similar to a horse and carriage. The design is very sculptural. Photographs really don’t do the Concept You justice – you really have to see it for yourself in reality! /Jonathan


Today we are presenting the new Volvo Concept You at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We are very excited! Compared to the earlier Concept Universe (presented in Shanghai) we have changed every surface of the car and made a completely different design, particularly with the new rear and front design. The main difference is that Concept You is a coupé, or a hatchback as opposed to the Concept Universe which was a sedan. The coupé-like silhouette is definitely a more European view of how you take a concept to production. /Jonathan

Volvo Concept You side

Volvo Concept You rear

Volvo Concept You front

Volvo Concept You doors