Volvo will deliberately not have a single car on display at the 2018 Los Angeles auto show later this month and will instead use the space to underscore the diverse mobility business it envisions for the future.
According to Volvo Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy Marten Levenstam, the brand will signal its intentions to do things differently an industry that's remained largely the same since its inception last century.
Thus, the Volvo stand will feature no cars and instead house interactive demos for its connectivity services, in-car delivery function via an Amazon partnership, self-driving technology, and its Care by Volvo subscriptions service. Levenstam said the display, which is called "This Is Not A Car," takes inspiration from a contemporary art painting—a Rene Magritte painting titled "This is Not a Pipe" that depicts a pipe.
Volvo is one of many brands that has looked beyond the traditional auto show to broadcast a brand image. Numerous automakers now skip some of the largest auto shows in the industry. Notably, no German luxury brand will attend the 2019 Detroit auto show in January. Volvo itself has said that it won't participate in the 2019 Geneva auto show, either. Instead, many brands opt for standalone events broadcast globally to reveal new vehicles. Automakers often reveal their cars days ahead of an auto show and not at the event itself.
The Swedish luxury brand, now owned by Chinese automaker Geely, has become something of a disruptor in the auto industry. It was one of the first to commit to an all-electrified lineup in the near future and has touted concept vehicles such as the self-driving and battery-electric 360c as the future of mobility. The brand even imagines a production self-driving car like the 360c could take business from the airline industry with onboard amenities such as a sleeping quarter.