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Q&A with Volvo about the new XC60

Date: 26 May 2017   |   Author: Nat Barnes

We catch up with Selwyn Cooper, Volvo UK head of business sales, about the new XC60 and how successful the firm's latest SUV is expected to be in fleet.

BusinessCar: How important will the fleet market be to the success of the new Volvo XC60 and do you expect that to grow?

Cooper: Volvo has a strategy to grow our volume in a balanced way, with both retail and fleet markets expected to contribute to the growth. The current XC60 has been a very important car for fleet customers; indeed, it was our largest selling car to businesses last year. As such, this new XC60 will be a crucial product in our future line-up, and I am very confident that it will contribute to our fleet growth plans.

BusinessCar: What has traditionally been the typical business driver profile of the Volvo XC60 and will that buyer change with this new model?

Cooper: The SUV bodystyle has been growing in popularity, with company car drivers looking for a car that delivers in a business environment while also supporting an active lifestyle outside of work. The outgoing XC60 has, through competitive monthly rentals, been attractive across many company car driver grades, and I fully expect this to continue with the new model. The addition of hybrid technology in the T8 version will open up new opportunities for business customers.

BusinessCar: What impact do you expect that new T8 plug-in hybrid version to have on the new XC60's appeal to fleets and what do you expect fleet uptake to be of that version?

Cooper: The choice of fuels is increasingly complex, and will continue to be influenced by tax. Volvo offers a choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid technology, meaning the customer can best suit their requirements. My field team and support operation are there to help the customer make that decision based on facts.

Volvo has a goal to have sold one million electrified cars by 2025. The XC60 T8 Twin Engine will be an important part of that goal, and as hybrid technology becomes more popular within fleet channels, I envisage a growing appeal of the T8. What we do know is that the larger XC90 T8 Twin Engine has exceeded our expectations, accounting for some 28% of total UK XC90 sales last year.

BusinessCar: Are the maintenance costs and costs per mile significantly lower with the new XC60 compared to its predecessor?

Cooper: Costs per mile are significantly reduced: the new XC60 D5 PowerPulse AWD achieves 40.32 pence per mile, versus 58 pence-per-mile for the equivalent outgoing XC60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav. Service, maintenance and repair costs are the same, even with the new car featuring a wealth of new technology. The excellent residual values will translate to very competitive monthly rental costs for the new XC60.

BusinessCar: How is the huge success of XC90 so far likely to impact on new XC60? Is that bringing new buyers to brand?

Cooper: The XC90 has given us an offer at the very highest level within businesses, while the V40 offers a competitive entry point into the fleet market. Volvo's ongoing product transformation will give us a true premium offering across all company car bands, and I see the new XC60 playing a key part in our offering.

The XC60 introduces the premium exterior and interior design, and advanced technology, that has proved so successful in the XC90 series, to a new segment. It will offer a genuine alternative to premium rivals such as the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC and BMW X3, and we believe that it will attract customers who would not have previously considered a Volvo.

BusinessCar: Are you planning any special handovers or workshops for fleet managers to run through the new technology or elements of the new car?

Cooper: We are currently investing in upgrading all of our dealerships country-wide, and this includes the recruitment of a product specialist at each. Their role will be not to sell the car, but to give each customer an understanding of all its elements, particularly technological. This will be of particular benefit to fleet customers, and will become an increasingly pertinent role as the cars become more advanced.