Volvo was one of several auto brands cast off from its parent company during the recent recession. The majority of those marques were shuttered (e.g. HUMMER, Pontiac, Saturn), and one -- Saab -- is struggling to keep the doors open. Volvo, however, has managed to stay the course, and a new app should help solidify its already-firm fan base -- at least in Europe.

The app is called "Volvo On Call", and it's an extension of Volvo's Volvo On Call roadside assistance service. Like GM's OnStar, Volvo On Call began as a way for drivers to connect with operators in case of an emergency. The initial version of the On Call app -- which is what we have in the U.S. -- was simply a smartphone version of the service with a few nifty features tacked on, like GPS integration that helped service personnel find stranded drivers.

Now, like GM's OnStar app, the Volvo On Call app has expanded its feature set, allowing customers to interact with their vehicles in a range of ways. In addition to the roadside assistance options, the Volvo On Call app lets customers lock the doors of their car remotely and lets them check their vehicle's status, too, including fuel, fluid levels, fuel economy, and service warnings. Perhaps most interestingly, the app can track users' driving habits, keeping a journal of where they've been and how far they've traveled over the past 40 days. That could come in handy for fleet owners.

Like its American counterpart, Volvo On Call is free for European customers, and it's available for both Android and iPhone handsets. For additional information, check out the company's official press release below.

Here's hoping that Volvo's American customers can get their hands on this expanded app soon.

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Volvo Car Corporation introduces mobile application that brings the car into your smart phone

From now on, there is no need to leave your Volvo behind when you park it.

June 7, 2011 -- The latest connectivity news from Volvo Car Corporation is a mobile application that makes sure that the driver can stay in touch with the parked car via an iPhone or Android smart phone.

This means that Volvo Cars introduces the most comprehensive and broadly available application in Europe when it comes to controlling and monitoring the car from anywhere at anytime.

"We design cars around people's needs and lifestyle. Creating an intuitive and ergonomically optimised driver's environment is part of our aim to offer a feeling of relaxed control. It is only logical that you should feel in command of your vehicle also after you have parked it," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO at Volvo Car Corporation.

The mobile application is another step in Volvo Cars' quest to provide Volvo owners with a superior range of connectivity possibilities - both in the car and when it's parked.

The mobile application is an extension of Volvo On Call, which originally focused on direct access to a call centre in the event of an accident or other emergency. Presently, Volvo On Call is available in 12 European countries plus Russia.

Now, the system has been reinvented. Owners of all new Volvo models (from model year 2012) with Volvo On Call can download the new application that opens up a range of connectivity possibilities via an iPhone or Android smart phone.

The mobile app is free and downloaded via the iPhone and Android application stores. The app is designed to offer the owner an intuitive, easy-to-use relationship with the car from a distance. Naturally, Volvo Cars has taken appropriate steps to protect the user's privacy and the security of the system.

"This is much more than a gadget. The mobile application is the first step in our connectivity strategy. We have started to build a bridge to the future - and the mobile app will be extended with a range of possibilities," says Stefan Jacoby.

Mobile app with a wide range of features

The mobile application includes a number of features:

* Car locator. The location of the car is shown on a map. There is also a digital compass that points the driver in the right direction. If necessary, the car horn and indicators can be activated to facilitate the search.
* Remote door lock. The status of all doors and windows is displayed - and the driver can lock and unlock the car with a push on the touch screen.
* Remote heater start. If the car is equipped with a parking heater, it can be started or timer programmed via the mobile app.
* Vehicle dashboard. This feature gives the driver access to a wide range of information: fuel level, remaining range to empty tank, average fuel consumption, average speed, odometer reading and trip meter reading.
* Car check. The mobile app performs a "health" check of the car, displaying information about bulbs, break fluid level, coolant level, engine oil level and engine oil pressure.
* Driving journal. Detailed data of each trip during the last 40 days can be downloaded and stored. There is also a possibility to extract the data as an Excel file - a perfect feature for company car owners.
* Vehicle information. Basic car data such as model, registration number and VIN number are stored and can be displayed.
* Theft notification. If the car alarm is triggered, the driver is alerted via the mobile app.
* This new Volvo On Call generation still includes all the safety and security aspects that are part of the first generation.


More projects in the pipeline

Volvo Cars will introduce several new connectivity features in the near future.

"The new mobile application transforms Volvo On Call from an emergency system to a useful convenience feature. It will help us boost sales of the system - and we are convinced that our ambitious plans in this connectivity field will help us attract more and more new customers in the future," says Stefan Jacoby.