After lucking out with a couple of nice days, we woke up to a gloomy morning in Goteborg, Sweden. However, our morning visit was all indoors at the Volvo Museum, just a short drive away. Our tour guide, an employee at Volvo, focused mainly on a new concept car by Volvo. A team of females at Volvo conducted market research to learn specifically what women are looking for in a car. They realized after surveying both men and women, that men and women often want the same things, however they communicate their preferences differently. The researchers also discovered that women have very high expectations for premium cars like Volvo (higher expectations than men have) so Volvo realized they needed to meet women’s expectations and would then surpass men’s expectations. This concept car was developed after extensive market research and incorporates many features to make life easier for the driver. The doors open out and up but don’t stick out anymore than a regular car door when being opened; this is to allow easier entry/exit. There is a lot of storage including a spot hidden away near the door for an umbrella, first aid kits and a flashlight (needed in Sweden for the dark winter months!). The arm rest between the front seats has a large storage capacity for a purse or even a laptop. The magnetic seat cushions can be changed out easily for different seasons (wool for winter, linen for summer) or different style preferences; they even have memory foam built in! My personal favorite feature was a new style headrest to accommodate ponytails or different hairstyles. Not one detail was overlooked in the concept car. We spent over an hour learning about all the features and probably did not even cover them all. Another neat touch was the non-stick paint which allows a car to go seven times longer than the normal car before needing a car wash (showing the focus on sustainability). We learned that a concept car is like a “candy store” for engineers and designers. They go back to the concept car when developing new cars and pull out different features to incorporate in the new design. The concept car itself won’t be developed into a new car model.
We had about an hour on our own to explore the large Volvo museum which features cars through the years, construction vehicles, buses, taxis and even boats! It was fun to see concept cars from earlier years to see what ideas have actually been applied in development of new cars.
After Volvo, we had an amazing lunch at Langedrag which is located right on the water. Although it was a gloomy day, the rain had stopped and we had a great view of sailboats and the wind farm we visited yesterday. Menus of the day are popular in Swedish restaurants and often feature a couple options with salad bar, bread and dessert/coffee included. The restaurant is famous for their seafood so most of us got the haddock – delicious!
We took a windy route to a wooden “castle” which used to be a summer estate for a wealthy family in the early 1800s. The summer villa features an exquisite interior carved wood throughout the house such as wooden columns carved in the wall and design features around doors. Our tour guide explained how the wooden chairs in each room match the unique room features. For example the dining room decor has carvings of grapes and abundant fruit around the windows and doors. The carved chairs for that room also reflect the grapes in the dining room. The main entrance is oval shaped and the chairs for that area in the home have an oval back to mirror the shape of the hall. Although it was a little too wet and chilly to walk the gardens, we sat in the estate’s coffeeshop and enjoyed the Swedish coffee break tradition of coffee and cinnamon rolls. The perfect afternoon pick-me-up!
That concludes our stay in Goteborg. Tomorrow we drive 5 hours to Vasteras where we look forward to the tour of the town tomorrow evening, site visits and a Viking Village (!) visit on Friday. Stay tuned!