A plug-in hybrid doesn't see gender, but there's no question that men generally dominate the auto industry. That's one reason Volvo Cars (Volvo) and Bogi Lateiner have partnered to bring a custom-built plug-in hybrid Volvo PV544 with 415 horsepower to the 2021 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas this November.
Called "Iron Maven," the classic 1961 Volvo PV544 coupe will get components including a Drive-E 4-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motors from a Volvo S60 T8 Recharge sedan as its updated powertrain. The car will also get a Polestar Engineered suspension, updated vehicle control systems, and a Sensus infotainment system. Additionally, Lateiner and her team will use custom 3D-printed and hand-fabricated parts in the rebuild.
The team working on rehabbing the "barn find" PV544 consists exclusively of female mechanics. This scenario is right on brand for Lateiner, who founded Girl Gang Garage, a network of women who are "committed to increasing gender diversity in the automotive industry," as Volvo stated in a press release about the partnership. Over 150 women from around the globe are collaborating on the build, including members of the Volvo Cars Technical Support team in the United States and Sweden. Volvo said its members are helping with the integration of some components and systems.
"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," Lateiner said in a statement. "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."
That's a message Volvo can get behind. The company is working to increase the number of female service technicians it employs and has also made a "50/50 Gender Neutral Leadership Commitment" for recruiting and promoting employees to leadership positions.
"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 Volvo Car USA president and CEO Anders Gustafsson in a statement. "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."
Lateiner, the host of All Girls Garage on MotorTrend TV, and a group of female mechanics brought a 1957 Chevrolet pickup to the SEMA Show in 2017.