Volvo would like to build a bespoke XC40 compact SUV, but any such model is up to five years away, say company sources, becuase there is no suitable platform available.

The Chinese-owned company has designed a bespoke platform, known as the SPA (Scaleable Platform Architecture), which is due to be rolled out late next year under the replacement for the XC90. However, the smallest model based on the SPA is likely to be the next-gen S60.

Volvo insiders say an XC40 would “fit the brand and sell in numbers”. In recent times, the company’s best-selling models have been the XC90 and XC60. With downsizing trends across the world, and the success of models such as the Audi Q3 and Range Rover Evoque, the absence of an XC40 is a significant gap in Volvo’s line-up. Future Cross Country models will simply be rugged versions of existing road cars, whereas XC models will be bespoke SUVs.

More details have also emerged about the engineering behind the SPA. It is constructed in five sections, with the section roughly between the centre of the front wheels and the A-pillars — which carries the engine and transmission — being the same size on all models underpinned by the platform. 

Volvo sources confirmed that the SPA will be able to accommodate both mechanical four-wheel drive and electrically driven rear axles for hybrid versions. The SPA will only take Volvo’s all-new four-cylinder engines. 

Autocar has also learned that Volvo and its owner Geely are preparing to launch a mid-market brand. Geely is positioned as the budget brand and Volvo the global premium nameplate. As yet it is unclear whether the mid-market brand will be for China only or offered globally.