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Volvo: Your Concept Car (YCC)


Your Concept Car – by women for modern people

  • Initiative in June 2002 by women at Volvo Cars

  • All decisions made by women

  • Targeting the most demanding premium customer: the independent, professional woman

The idea of an all-woman team making all the decisions in the development of a new concept car arose at Volvo in the autumn of 2001. Visiting Volvo at the time for a series of workshops was Marti Barletta, an American expert on female consumer patterns. She claimed: “If you meet the expectations of women, you exceed the expectations of men”.

In June 2002, Camilla Palmertz and a small group of colleagues were invited to present their idea to Hans-Olov Olsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation. He greeted it with enthusiasm.






The YCC team

  • Elna Holmberg, Technical Project Manager Upper left)
  • Tatiana Butovitsch Temm, Communications Manager (upper right)
  • Eva-Lisa Andersson, Project Manager (middle left)
  • Camilla Palmertz, Project Manager (middle right)
  • Maria Widell Christiansen, Design Manager (lower right)

A key ambition in developing the YCC was to ensure that the driver, regardless of height, would be able to sit correctly when driving and have the right line of vision too. The result was Ergovision (patent pending) – ergonomics and optimum line of vision in one system.

Volvo's Your Concept Car (YCC)

Volvo's Your Concept Car (YCC)

  Volvo's Your Concept Car (YCC)

  Volvo's Your Concept Car (YCC)

  Volvo's Your Concept Car (YCC)
Click image for larger view

Your whole body is scanned at the dealership, then this data is used to define a driving position just for you. This is stored in digital form on your key unit. Once you get into the driver’s seat and dock your key on the centre console, the seat, steering wheel, pedals, head restraint and seat belt will all be adjusted automatically to suit your personal build. The result is a sound driving position with the best line of vision for you.

If you want to alter the stored position, you can change the settings of the various car components in the system, then store that set of data on your key unit. The system will warn you if your line of vision is wrong by means of the lenticular hologram, an eye symbol displayed on the A-pillar, between windscreen and door.

The YCC has other features designed to make your driving posture as comfortable as possible, for trouble-free driving. The design philosophy was that, wherever the car can be made to adapt itself to suit the driver, this provision should be made. Because the height of the driver’s shoe heels may differ from one day to the next, the driver heel rest was made fully adjustable.

The interior design of the YCC is a balance between the driver’s need for as much space as possible and the need to have all the most important things within easy reach. “It was all part of the aim of making life easier. The cabin environment has been designed so that everything you need is at your fingertips. And your surroundings need to make you feel good too,” says interior designer Cindy Charwick.

Inside the car, she has echoed the flowing lines of the exterior styling. The instrument panel is S-shaped, adding to the sense of space and air in the cabin.

And to reinforce the floating, hovering impression the exterior gives, with its colour-change paint and the lift of its gull-wing doors, the front seat mountings have been moved inwards, out of sight. The seats look as though they are hovering above the floor.

Elegance is built into other interior features too. The ambient lighting follows the lines of the car at the side, the ventilation is concealed and the roof lining between the glazed moon roof is a shimmering star ceiling produced through a unique material made by fibre optics.


The YCC is packed with smart technology, but the technology has not been allowed to complicate matters for the driver.

So the instrument panel is clean cut, simple and restrained. There are few instruments, but those there are are close to your line of sight. The gear levers are by the steering wheel.

All non-essentials have been removed – what you see is your speed, how far you can drive before you need to refuel and how to find your way. In other words, a speedometer, a distance indicator and a navigation system. All other information can be accessed using the control panel alongside the steering wheel. Everything is easy to reach, easy to understand and easy to operate.


The YCC has storage options in new places. Moving the gear levers up by the steering wheel and making the electronic parking brake automatic has freed up all the space between the front seats. An ideal place for keeping things you might want on the journey. Drivers should not have to worry about things like mobiles ringing or where to find some small change in a hurry. Here there are both shallow compartments and deep ones, with room for things like your notebook computer, handbag, parking money, drinks, keys, CDs and mobile phone.

And the main function of the rear seat is not that of carrying passengers – it is for carrying things, because that is what the target group mostly use it for. Here there is all the room you want for briefcases, carrier bags and bags full of sports gear. The rear seat is actually two separate fold-down seats. They are rather like cinema seats, so they spring back up when not in use – to make even more space for storage. And the compartment on the back of the front seat is actually a removable compact briefcase. The boot is big enough for a set of golf clubs.


Spaciousness and light are the key impressions conveyed by the interior. Sitting in the YCC, you get a strong sense of being in a living room. The colour and trim is strongly influenced by home interior design.

“Let’s bring the living room into the car. Let’s use materials we have in the home – honest materials, not obscured by coats of shiny enamel,” was the way Maria Uggla, the designer responsible for Colour and Trim, felt about it.

The YCC is exceptionally light in the inside, rather like a modern living room with big windows and skylights. Scandinavian light was the real inspiration. Here the interior surface materials set the tone and the light spectrum. Specially selected to avoid weighing down the interior in any way, they reinforce and amplify the space within the car. All the horizontal surfaces are of laminated bleached oak, augmented by all functional surfaces in brushed aluminium.

Another innovation is the use of pale plastic sheeting behind a transparent layer in places like the centre of the instrument panel – plastic used to real advantage. The speaker grilles combine white and silver in a random pattern. The side panels, doors and rear seats have been tied together through a light eggshell colour.


Just as light-coloured walls in a living room focus attention on the furniture, all the pale surfaces in the YCC mean your eye is caught at once by the seats and carpets. This is where the real scope for individuality comes into play – the chance to alter your car interior according to trends, personal taste or style. A range of eight seat pad options with matching carpets means that you can decorate your car to match your personal taste.

Swapping them over is quick and easy and they are easy to care for. Some are machine washable, others dry clean only. A range so wide that everyone can find a personal favourite. The options are:

  • dark brown leather.A traditional upholstery option in soft leather, complemented by a short-pile carpet of tufted linen.

  • black-brown woven leather. A bold, sporty option. Complemented by a multicoloured carpet of tufted linen with orange, grey-green, beige, wine and yellowgreen elements.

  • beige linen accented with lime-green highlights. A more subdued style, complemented by a bouclé-based wool and linen carpet, with lime green stripes of tufted linen.

  • checked woollen bouclé. A retro fabric in black and lime-yellow which flirts with the 1950s and modern interior design trends. Complemented by a carpet of black woollen felt.

  • red wool. A thick, warm covering. The carpet is made of the same type of material.

  • cream felted wool. A more restrained choice. Complemented by a carpet of woven bouclé with green and grey accents.

  • grey nubuck. An elegant option complemented by a tufted deep-pile carpet.

  • shimmering pale yellow with embroidered flowers. The least conventional option. Complemented by a bouclé-based dark brown carpet with strands of pale yellow linen.

All the materials would work equally well in a living room. Many of them have never before been used in cars. Each seat top option has its own label, reinforcing the link with home interiors.


(8 March 2004)

 photos: Volvo Car Corp./Automotive Intelligence

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