Volvo Cars and custom car builder Bogi Lateiner have partnered to call attention to the need for more women in the auto industry with a custom, plug-in hybrid car project that merges 1960s style with modern technology, power and efficiency, the automaker announced.
Lateiner is the founder and leader of Girl Gang Garage, a network of women committed to increasing gender diversity in the automotive industry. The collaboration highlights Volvo Cars’ dedication to increasing the number of female technicians within its retail network through accelerated training programs for current automotive technicians, recent graduates and military veterans., the company said.
Lateiner and her team of professional and amateur female mechanics, body technicians, painters and welders, alongside a group of female technicians in Volvo Cars’ network that are Hybrid-Certified, are merging a 1961 Volvo PV544 coupe with components from a Volvo S60 T8 Recharge Polestar Engineered sedan to create “Iron Maven”: a 415-horsepower plug-in hybrid with classic design. The finished product is scheduled to be unveiled at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas on Nov. 2.
Iron Maven is the third all-female build from Girl Gang Garage and is also the most complex to date. It represents the largest build of its kind, with more than 150 women participating from around the world. The Volvo Cars Technical Support team, based in both the United States and in Sweden, are assisting the team with select component and system integration.
A ‘barn find’ in the Phoenix, Arizona area, the PV544 will be adapted and updated to accommodate the technologically advanced elements from the S60 T8 Polestar Engineered sedan, including the plug-in hybrid drivetrain – a Drive-E, four-cylinder gasoline engine paired to electric motors. The Polestar Engineered suspension, modern vehicle control systems and the Sensus infotainment system are planned to be integrated into the new car. Major modifications, custom 3D-printed components, by-hand fabrication and technical analyses ensure the final car carries through the essence of classic, current and forward-looking elements and approaches, the company said.
Volvo Cars is looking to increase the number of its service technicians that are female and offers a series of development programs, scholarships, partnerships and more at training centers across the United States. This includes a 50/50 Gender Neutral Leadership Commitment in recruitment and promotion to leadership positions, as well as a larger focus on supporting the company’s transition to a fully electrified lineup of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles, the company said. Girl Gang Garage provides a range of year-round classes and events at their primary location in Phoenix along with a collection of virtual and offsite sessions for all skill levels.
“As we look toward the next decade, the automotive industry will see new technologies, embrace electrification, transform its approach to manufacturing and find innovative ways to connect with customers,” said Anders Gustafsson, senior vice president, Volvo Car Americas and president and CEO, Volvo Car USA. “With these advancements, one of our biggest challenges will be developing a strong, diverse talent pipeline and an inclusive culture to support this transformation. Investing in programs that grow female and minority representation in automotive is critical to the future of our business at Volvo Cars, and the future of the automotive industry at large.”
“Both cars in their original form are so unique and each carry their own legacy, and the amount of skill required by our female technicians to combine these two Volvos into one as ‘Iron Maven’ is nothing short of incredible,” said Lateiner. “There are so many incredibly talented women in the industry and there is strong interest when people are given an opportunity like this to learn. It is wonderful to work with Volvo Cars to make this build not only a reality but also a concrete example of what the power of women working together can make possible.”