We unveil the Swedes model line-up to 2012 as the brand moves toward more V and XC models
9 January 2008

Volvo is poised to press the green light on a complete re-think of its model range in a last-ditch attempt to break out of a decade-long sales gridlock.A new range of models that centres around the ‘V and XC badges’ – models that already account for 60-70 percent of production - is currently being finalised at Volvo’s HQ. So buyers can expect a big push on versatile estates and rugged off-road-style vehicles.There’ll be fewer saloon models in Volvo’s future, too. Longer-term, a very small Volvo ‘city car’ and an electrically driven hatchback are also on the Gothenburg radar, as is a large ‘V100’ flagship that could step in for the S80.

Volvo goes after the Audi A3 Sportback

The key model to Volvo's resurgence will be the new V30, as imagined in our artists impression above. This will be a spacious five-door hatchback designed to attract a global market of younger, more affluent buyers who have young families but retain a keen interested in outdoor activities.This car will be aimed at drivers who might otherwise look at the Audi A3 or VW Golf, but it'll be a more sophisticated and modernist take on the conventional family hatchback.Hints from company bosses suggest the V30 may have a higher and longer roofline than, say, the Audi A3 Sportback, as well as being equipped with the sort of flexible interior package that is more usually found inside a conventional mini-MPV. Sources say the final result could be something pitched between the Audi and a Ford Focus C-Max.The V30 will be based on a moderately updated version of the excellent Focus-family chassisand is also likely to come in an XC version with a raised ride height, four-wheel drive and rugged body styling. It will slots into the range above the three-door C30 in 2010. Despite widespread rumours, Autocar understands there will be no five-door version of the C30.The V30 will effectively replace both the S40 saloon and V50 estate in the Golf-size market. Sales of the somewhat confined S40 are slowing as the European market for small saloons vanishes. The V50 is also on the small side for an estate in this class, so Volvo plans to push the nameplate up a size. The new 2010 V50 will marginally bigger than today’s BMW 3-series Touring but marginally smaller than the next-generation Volvo S60.

Can Volvo do it this time?

Despite its best efforts, the Swedish car-maker has failed to take full advantage of the boom in premium car sales over the last 15 years.In 1997 the company sold 400,000 cars, and after peaking at 450,000 in 2004, sales have again drifted back down to below 430,000 units. Rumours are rife that the company’s profitability is also sliding away.Company bosses are still aiming for 600,000 annual sales, a target that will be made much easier with the launch of the XC60 compact off-roader later this year.However, despite its rapid design evolution Volvo is finding that it is still strongly associated with its classic square-cut estates from over two decades ago. Modernising the brand and capturing new customers is proving much more difficult than anticipated.Volvo’s new pitch at environmentally conscious, family orientated outdoors enthusiasts simply has to work.

Hilton Holloway

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Comments
4

9 January 2008

Volvo need a serious rethink (has the new V70 and XC70 really been a giant leap forward in design and approach over the models they replace and does the V50 and S40 offer a credible alternative to a Audi A3/Golf/BMW?) and if the strategy outlined here bears fruit they have a fruitful future. The market today is flooded with so called premium models (BMW - Audi et al.) and seem more commonplace than the days of Mondeo's/Vectra's. This approach could bring a fresh sea change for Volvo...lets hope it sees the light of day!

10 January 2008

It's an interesting strategy and makes sense. Historically Volvo has always been known for it's Estates, esp in the U.S. With the advent of the XC70 Volvo really pre-empted the "crossover" fad ( I know Audi got there before then with the Allroad ). Cashing in on this clearly defined segment makes sense, especially if the cars look as good as your rendering...

Look forward to seeing the new models come through.

Mac

Oh and here's a rendering I've done of an XC30

VOLVO XC30 - RENDERING

22 January 2008

The V30 looks remarkably like the Lancia Delta and Merc B-class.

Perhaps Volvo & Lancia will move towards this sort of area of semi-premium manufacturers.

How about these line ups with equivalent Mercs

Volvo Lancia Merc

C30 A-class 3-dr

V30 Delta HPE B-class

S60/V50 New Lybra C-class

S80/V70 Thesis E-class

C90 Flamina CLK

Fulvia SLK

XC30 MLK

XC50 GLK

XC90 ML

13 March 2008

In my opinion, Volvo needs to do the following:

1. Rationalise model range - get rid of s60

2. Fix the following ownership issues:

- Cost of ownership: Depreciation and service costs make it as expensive as Benz or BMW

- Driving experience: They do not need to be sports cars but they need to be refined. Driving experience (handling, ride) is inferior to Benz, BMW. Rear wheel drive needs to be looked at. It is unbelieveable that the S80 has such poor reviews in this regard.

3. Stake out a position as "green/safe/practical/economical/understated" and do it quickly. BMW is already advanced on H2 and hybrids.

4. Be very careful about making Volvos "cool" or "sexy". Maybe something truer to #3 is more appropriate. The risk is that the car looks like your dad trying to boogie

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