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CO2-saving will produce front-drive Volvo XC90

Date: 07 October 2008   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Volvo's new Driv-e eco range will include the company's lower CO2 front-wheel-drive XC60 crossover when it goes on sale next May, while the Swedish brand plans to extend its front-wheel drive off-roader strategy to include the XC90 within two years.

The front-drive XC60 plan was first revealed by BusinessCar in February.

Lex Kerssemakers, senior vice president for brand, business and product strategy, claimed "the Brits had surrendered" by accepting a two-wheel drive XC60 model, which 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 mean 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 confirmed: "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%. The Brits had to surrender for the right reasons. It is about what the public wants."

Iain Howat, UK offers manager, said: "If you are getting a 5% BIK improvement on the front-drive car, lower running costs, better fuel figures and superior CO2, plus the upgraded engine then it will be a cheaper business prospect from day one."