SwedeSpeed - Volvo Performance Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,706 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<B>Source:</B><BR><I>Automotive News Europe<BR>By: Richard Johnson<BR>December 31, 2001, 12:44 PM<BR>Gothenburg, Sweden</I><P><B>After SUV, Volvo May Get a Small Car!</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Volvo is stretching the brand in two new directions - beginning with a sport-utility that will debut at the Detroit auto show next month. The next attempt at a new segment will probably be a car positioned below the S40 and V40 twins. But Volvo must first solve the problem of how to make money on small cars. The all-wheel-drive XC90 sport-utility will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2002. It is based on Volvo's large-car platform and will be built on the same line as the S80 and V70 at Volvo's Torslanda plant here. The Swedish carmaker expects to build 10,000 to 15,000 XC90s in 2002 and about 50,000 a year after that. Sixty to 70 percent of XC90 volume will go to the USA, said Lex Kerssemakers, vice president in charge of business and product strategy. But he also expects SUV demand to grow in Europe. The XC90 design is "pure Volvo," said styling chief Peter Horbury. The exterior shape was completed two weeks before Ford bought Volvo in February 1999.<P>Horbury said he wanted the XC90's face to "not look so macho, to be more friendly." He said the angle of the windshield is sharply raked "so there is no confusion with a minivan." The rear is also slanted sharply "so it doesn't look like a station wagon." The V-shaped hood, an old Volvo design cue that reappeared on the S80, is more distinct on the new SUV. So are the pronounced shoulders that call to mind the 240 and PV 544. "The shoulder is our calling card," said Horbury. "There is a flat top, a big radius and a clean vertical." At 4800mm long, the XC90 is slightly larger than the Mercedes-Benz M class and BMW X5. The seven-seater will be offered with turbocharged five- and six-cylinder transversely mounted engines, including the 272hp, six-cylinder, 2.8-liter unit from the S80 T6. Volvo's new 163hp D5 common-rail diesel is also available. The XC90 shares about 50 percent of its parts with other Volvo models, said Volvo product development chief Hans Gustavsson. "The powertrain is in many ways similar to other products in the range," said Gustavsson, who is beginning a new job as coordinator of product plans at Ford's Premier Automotive Group.<P>Gustavsson will look for commonality between Volvo and other the Premier luxury brands, which include Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Lincoln. "Our analysis shows that 40 percent of the cost of a Volvo is in things really unique to the brand and 60 percent are things we can share," Gustavsson said. But the XC90 takes Volvo into the sport-utility segment much later than its rivals. "We will become even more aggressive in terms of product development," said Volvo President Hans-Olov Olsson. Gustavsson added: "We definitely have a plan to expand our product portfolio. Volume expansion very much comes from model expansion." The small car Volvo is considering would not debut until after the S40 and V40 are replaced in late 2003 or early 2004. "We are evaluating ideas for the small car," said Kerssemakers. "There is no shortage of ideas. We are looking at the different business cases."<P>Olsson said a final decision has not been made on the project. "But it's on our mind," he said. "It's on the agenda." Although the small Volvo would share parts with Ford's new Fiesta, Olsson said the two cars would not compete with each other. "I don't have doubts about a small Volvo," he said. "It will fit alongside a Ford." The new models are part of a strategy to boost Volvo's volume to 600,000 from about 420,000 sales this year. "We need more young buyers," said Olsson. "The perception is that there is one Volvo and it takes time for the market to understand that Volvo has this portfolio. "What's on our mind is how can we move the brand," he added. "I don't think you can associate Volvo with luxury in the traditional way. That belongs to Jaguar in the Premier Automotive Group. The other thing on our mind is: How small can a Volvo be? There is a downsizing in general." Luxury-car makers are struggling to make money in lower segments. DaimlerChrysler officials admit the Mercedes-Benz A class won't make a profit in its first generation and sources say the Audi A2 and BMW Mini won't either. "You never make as much money on a small car, so you have to see it as a strategic investment," said Kerssemakers. "But we also want to catch the customers coming up and that is an important factor." Still, he predicted that a small Volvo would be profitable in its first generation. Olsson said the small car would be sold in the USA. No new plant would be needed to build it because of available Ford production capacity. "We would have a choice," said Olsson.<P>Volvo expects to match its 2000 worldwide sales of 422,000 in 2001, but the original target was slightly higher - about 430,000. "The US decline has hit us hard," said Olsson. "I would have liked US sales in November to have been much better. In Europe, the UK is very strong, but the German market is really going down. We are all hit by that, but we are not losing market share anywhere." <BR>Volvo will bring out replacements for its C70 coupe and convertible, which have been disappointing sellers. "It would be unfortunate not to capitalize on all we've learned," said Kerssemakers. "It takes one-and-a-half life cycles to get credibility in the coupe and convertible segments." Worldwide sales of the C70 were 12,292 in 2000. Sales are expected to be around 10,000 in 2001. The C70, which was launched in 1996, is built in Uddevalla, Sweden. Volvo will make its new common-rail diesel available to other Premier Automotive Group brands - as soon as it can build enough of them. "There are discussions," said Gustavsson. "The only problem now is that our production capacity is not enough. But definitely that engine is available to other brands as well." The aluminum-block D5 is Volvo's first common-rail unit. It is also the first passenger-car diesel engine Volvo has designed and manufactured in-house. Volvo has previously bought diesels from other manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Renault. Volvo's engine is built in Skovde, Sweden. Volvo may offer the new diesel in the US market. "Diesel in the USA is an issue we are following with interest," said Olsson. "It's a matter of consumer perception."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>-Drew
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
I thought the next one was going to be Focus based. Isn't the Fiesta a lot smaller than the Focus? <P>If Volvo is going to go small, they should go into that Focus/Civic/Golf class. That'd keep it competitive to sell in the US as well. The Fiesta is too small.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,706 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, the next S40/V50/C40 will be based on the next Focus chassis, but the V30 hatchback will be based on the Fiesta chassis which has been getting rave reviews in Europe actually. <IMG SRC="http://www.swedespeed.com/ubb/smile.gif"><P>-Drew
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top