Volvo plans to re-size future product range
01 December 2008
Author: Hugh Hunston
Volvo's new Mondeo-platform based S60 - due to appear at January's Detroit show in concept form - will be closer in size to BMW's 3-series as Volvo repositions both its out of kilter upper and lower medium and range.
Lex Kerssemakers, senior vice president for brand, business and product strategy, confirmed that the "the first prototypes are running", and that the car provided an opportunity to "enhance our premium quality and take price steps closer to BMW [3-series] and Audi [A4]".
Volvo's product plan includes a new lower medium range "slightly smaller than the current S40" and featuring a hatchback format to rival the Audi A3, BMW 1-series and VW Golf.
Kerssemakers said the S40 suffered from the "Swedish automotive disease" of being sized in between rival models, a condition he intended to cure Volvo of.
Kerssemakers also confessed that an XC30 was on his list of potential projects, but it was down to "weight, cost and circumstance", while an all-wheel-drive hybrid solution could involve electrically driven rear wheels.
"We need to make up our minds in the next few months," he said.
Kerssemakers added that the company aims to make its anti-tailgating collision City Safe braking system, pioneered on the XC60, standard on all future Volvos.
Meanwhile, Iain Howat, UK offers manager, predicted that fleets would account for between 80 and 85% of the sales volume for sub-121g/km 1.6-litre diesel S40, V50 and C30 Driv-e models.