Volvo gets mobile

What better place to design your dream car than on the road?

What better place to design your dream car than on the road?

Thanks to San Francisco-based content delivery service Mobileplay, potential Volvo buyers can map out exactly what they want in their cars – from exterior colour to interior fabrics – on their handheld devices, including BlackBerries, Treos and Windows Mobile Smartphones. They can even send their designs directly to the nearest Volvo dealer and order their new car without going to a dealership.

The application debuted in early February, and is available for the 2006 Volvo XC70 and XC90 models. Web surfers can include the Volvo application when signing up for a Mobileplay account, which delivers mobile content like news, weather and stock updates.Volvo’s U.S. Web site also directs browsers to www.mobileplay.com, where they can download the app.

Rockleigh, N.J.-based Volvo Cars of North America hopes this tech-savvy initiative will score points with one of its core target demos. ‘We know that early adopters match up very well with our brand,’ says John Neu, Volvo’s director of e-business, adding that another target is business travellers. He says the initiative is in line with the brand’s commitment to be among the first to advertise with new tech, and that getting in on the PDA trend seemed like a good move, citing a recent stat estimating that there will be 100 million PDAs in North America by end of year.

Neu says it can be scary being one of the first marketers to enter a new arena, but ultimately: ‘We believe in taking risks.’ He says anecdotal evidence for the app is ‘very good’ so far.

Marketers can expect to pay anywhere from US$100,000 to US$300,000 for a similar promo with Mobileplay. AB