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Volvo Korea, SKT work together for smarter XC60
Published : Sep 14, 2021 - 17:03
Updated : Sep 14, 2021 - 17:52
Lee Yoon-mo, CEO of Volvo Cars Korea, stands next to the new XC60 SUV. (Volvo Cars Korea)
Volvo Korea unveiled the latest face-lifted version of its flagship sport utility vehicle XC60, equipped with a new smart car system developed in partnership with South Korean mobile carrier, SKT.

“Cars no longer only have the function of transportation. It’s a means of one’s lifestyle experience. We hope (the new XC60) becomes a trendsetter in this new wave of change,” said Lee Yoon-mo, CEO of Volvo Cars Korea, during an online meeting with the press on Tuesday.

The first upgrade in four years entails new additions of a 3D iron mark, a full LED tail lamp and the latest advanced driver-assistance system, as well as newly designed front and rear wheels. 

The most noticeable feature is its artificial intelligence-based infotainment system, which was jointly developed with SKT.

“Volvo and SKT both saw cars as the ‘next smart device’. This mutual understanding, I think, was the biggest motivation in launching the system since we agreed on a joint business deal in 2015,” said Park Seo-ha from T-Map, SKT’s car navigation service.

SKT invested 30 billion won ($25.6 million) to develop the “SKT integrated car infotainment” service based on its NUGU AI voice assistant.

It connects the Volvo vehicle with various mobile apps from SKT such as T-map and Flo, a music streaming platform. Volvo said it was the first carmaker to develop such service. 

(Volvo Cars Korea)

Drivers can ask SKT’s AI assistant “Aria” to control the temperature, send text messages, navigate directions and make music recommendations with only their voice. The system will be applied to all models under Volvo by next year, the auto firm said.

For first time purchasers of a Volvo car, the brand will provide free LTE access for five years and a one-year membership to SKT’s music streaming platform Flo, the Swedish carmaker said.

The firm has also introduced two new services -- the Volvo Car app and Volvo on Call 24-hour concierge service -- aimed to increase connectivity between customers and the brand.

Executives at Volvo also reiterated future plans for electric-powered vehicles.

“We plan to bring the Volvo XC40 Recharge EV around early next year in South Korea and launch around seven all-electric vehicles by 2025. Our plan is to introduce at least one EV for each segment we own,” said Lee Man-shik, national sales and marketing director at Volvo Cars Korea.

The new XC60 will be made available with five trim options that combine three powertrains -- two types of mild hybrid and one plugged-in hybrid. 

Retail prices start at 61.9 million won.

By Kang Jae-eun (kang.jaeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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