V40 to become Volvo's biggest-selling model
25 July 2012
Volvo will reveal a spin-off of the V40 hatchback (pictured), known as the XC40, at the Paris motor show
Volvo's new rival to the BMW 1-series and Audi A3 will become its biggest-selling model in its first full year of sales in 2013 - and that's even allowing for the Chinese-owned Swedish brand deliberately going conservative with its 12,000 unit prediction to ensure demand exceeds supply.
The corporate market will be crucial to the V40's success, with around 70% of volume expected to go to business users, despite Volvo UK managing director Nick Connor insisting there will be no daily rental or direct supply volume in the 12,000 units for 2012.
"The corporate market is increasingly important for us. We've spent a bit of time making sure the car appeals to corporate, for example by making Bluetooth standard on all cars," Connor told BusinessCar.
"We've also grouped options together in a more logical way, aimed at the corporate sector, and we've given them nomenclature so we get the residual value from the setters - which helps the funding of the car with leasing companies."
Connor highlighted the car's emissions as an important selling point, with the D2 model available at 94g/km, while the Audi and BMW rivals are both at 99g/km: "I think the lowest will always be the most attractive.
"We can say it's best-in-class and the headline fuel figure is attractive too."
The 115hp D2 is predicted to take 60-65% of volume, although the more powerful 150hp D3 and 177hp D4 also both offer emissions of 114/km.
Volvo is targeting premium brands and also drivers looking to step up from the volume segment. "We believe we absolutely stand comparison with the German cars, and we also believe we will pull people up from semi-premium brands like the Honda Civic and top-end Astras," declared Connor.
"But we have to be realistic, if people really want to drive an Audi then we won't take them out of it, but we can compete with those cars."
Volvo's UK boss is also looking for the V40 to win favour compared to larger upper medium models.
"I think we'll also pull people down from the C/D sector - when you drive the car it doesn't feel like a C-segment hatchback," he said. "People aren't having to compromise to move down a segment and get the BIK benefits, so my prediction is that this segment will continue to grow because it's so strong."
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