MONTE CARLO -- Volvo boss Stefan Jacoby has admitted his cars are too complicated and said the company needs to make them more intuitive for drivers.
"Our cars are too complicated for the consumer. Our intention is to have an intuitive car that lets the driver actually feel like he's in command," Jacoby said, speaking at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Monte Carlo.
"We know from research that 75 percent of all consumers do not know all the possibilities they have with their car," he said.
He pointed to products from computer company Apple, maker of the iPhone, as an example of intuitive design. "It's so easy to control. You feel in control of that machine and that gives consumers a big confidence."
Jacoby also told delegates of the difficulties car companies face attracting younger buyers. "For my 17-year-old son being connected is more important than being mobile. Resilience at Volvo depends on a readiness to understand modern kids and the ability to build a car around them."
One way Volvo is future proofing sales is to bet big on plug-in hybrids, the CEO said: "I personally believe that petrol or diesel plug-in hybrids are the mid-term future."
The company will launch the V60 plug-in hybrid in Europe in the third quarter of 2012. Jacoby predicts sales of 5,000 a year and says the car will be profitable. In the UK, the car will cost £42,000 after the government's £5000 grant.
Jacoby says that in future all models could have a plug-in hybrid version. This is a possibility because of the flexibility of the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). The first car to use this platform will the new XC90 in 2014 and the company says "most" of its cars can be built off the same platform.