FRANKFURT - Volvo has been holding talks with Hertz Corp. and other Ford Motor Co. subsidiaries about providing a 'total mobility concept' to consumers.
Several areas are under discussion. One idea involves renting or leasing different types of vehicles to the same customers during different seasons of the year, depending upon their needs.
A customer could lease a convertible in the summer and an S80 sedan in the winter, for example.
Wolff Huber, president of Volvo's European marketing area, said such concepts would not exclude Volvo's sibling companies in Ford's Premier Automotive Group luxury-car division, including Jaguar and Lincoln.
Volvo wants to be on the 'cutting edge of retailing,' Huber said.
'If we are early enough and quick enough, we can bring completely new offerings to the market,' he said.
'The strength of Ford Motor Co. is being able to provide these services in-house.'
Those services could be provided by rental-car giant Hertz and Ford Motor Credit, Ford's finance arm.
According to Dieter Laxy, Volvo's global marketing chief: 'It is our duty to our customers to ease the access to a flexible premium mobility concept.'
Volvo officials did not say when and where they might introduce such services.
But Huber has said Volvo will use the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary as a kind of retail laboratory where such new ideas might be tried first.
Based in Sweden, one of the world's leading countries in Internet usage per capita, Volvo is also taking the lead among Ford brands in Internet and e-commerce.
Asked if consumers would be buying their Volvos online by 2005, Huber responded: 'The market will require much faster speed.'
One of the big consumer trends these days is individuality, Huber said. Customers are demanding products meet their own individual expectations. Volvo must be ready to respond to that trend by tailoring its products and services accordingly, he said.