Volvo C30/C70

Have we mentioned that Volvo is losing what little grip it had on the U.S. market?

The brand was known for three things: Safety, utility and luxury. That first element has been mandated into just about every other vehicle on the road. The second is being done better by cheaper crossover vehicles. The third? Well, even brands including Mercedes and BMW got around to hitting all of Volvo's finer points just after Lexus, Infiniti and others did the same.

The C30 is the sporty little three-door that nobody wanted from this company. It's a zippy little thing, but its price was a bit high for what it was offering and its curb appeal just didn't fit the brand's U.S. image at all. The C70, meanwhile, is just the type of car Volvo wanted to put up against its German counterparts, but not the vehicle anyone really wanted from this brand. It's a gorgeous compact convertible and should have put up more of a fight, but it was -- again -- completely out of character for Volvo. Even though it stayed in the lineup for 15 years, the C70 may still be more of an example of what Volvo's done wrong in recent years than what it's done correctly.

This is a company that needs reinforcements desperately to arrive. Its new V60 wagon is just what it needs to slip back into its Subaru-style niche, but it doesn't arrive until 2015. Can Volvo hold out in the U.S. for that long?

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.

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