Advanced XC60 orders defy economic downturn
27 November 2008
Author: Tristan Young Hugh Hunston
Volvo expects to sell 5000 of its new XC60 small off-roader next year with 40% going to fleets.
Volvo had amassed 650 orders ahead of the 15 November on-sale date despite the economic downturn and the recent residual value decreases that have hit off-roaders particularly badly.
The XC60 range will be expanded next May with the introduction of a 163PS diesel front-drive version under the Driv-e eco-badge. The Swedish brand also plans to extend its front-wheel-drive off-roader strategy to include the XC90 within two years.
Lex Kerssemakers, senior vice president for brand, business and product strategy, claimed "the Brits had surrendered" and accepted a two-wheel-drive XC60 model that, with a 162g/km CO2 rating had "normal car emission levels".
He said: "The debate about SUVs should become more balanced, and front-wheel drive versions means it comes down to perception and personal taste. You don't need to be anti-social for liking high seating and space. The business community now has a reason not to abandon those assets."
Kerssemakers added: "We will bring in the front-wheel drive XC90 with a product upgrade within two years. I am not a super visionary but 18 months ago I believed two-wheel drive models could take 20% of XC60 sales, but the environment is changing so quickly and across Europe it could be 50%."