Volvo’s low-CO2 Driv-e range could make up more than half of the firm’s fleet sales depending on model, according to fleet boss John Wallace.

Wallace said Volvo’s strategy in the recession was “about defending, stabilising and then growing market share”.

However, he was buoyant about the prospects for the new Driv-e eco-cars and said: “50% of XC60 orders are for the Driv-e version.”

He also added that in the case of the V50, 60% of orders were for the Driv-e cars.

The XC60 Driv-e does without four-wheel drive to attain a CO2 figure under the 160g/km cut-off for capital allowance taxation.

Defending why a front-drive off-roader would succeed, when Nissan’s two-wheel drive X-trial was dropped due to lack of demand, Wallace said: “It’s different now, the 160g/km limit for capital allowance taxation is where it’s at. As a result of that, fleet policies are being set with maximums at that level.

“The XC60 at 159g/km means you can have a senior management car that has everything on it bar 4×4.

“There were doubts that it would damage the XC brand but the focus on fuel costs is so much higher now.”

He added: “The market is more used to front-drive cars that look like 4x4s now too, the Qashqai did that.”