The demands of China’s market could help Volvo create more unusual interiors; the new S90 Excellence is an example

Volvo’s Chinese research and development (R&D) centre in Shanghai’s Jiading district will be a key asset in ensuring future Volvo interiors are significantly different in style from those of its premium rivals.

Speaking at the launch of the long-wheelbase Volvo S90 Excellence in Shanghai, Volvo president and CEO Håkan Samuelsson explained that Chinese buyers prioritise interior quality when purchasing their cars, so appealing to them will help Volvo stand out from the market.

“In Europe, the buyer still wants to drive the car, whereas in China the customer is driven, so this affects design,” he said. “I think in China they already have good confidence in cabin design, so our Chinese centre can be a leader in this area.”

Samuelsson says that the China-only S90 Excellence, which ditches the front passenger seat to give the rear passenger a better forward view, is a perfect example of this design confidence.

“You can never copy somebody else, you have to be different,” he said.

Volvo’s main R&D site in Sweden will work alongside its Chinese counterpart, with Samuelsson explaining that this process emphasised the successes of Volvo’s increasing ties with its parent company, the Chinese car maker Geely.

“It’s a reflection of the structure of Volvo, because unlike other Chinese-owned brands we still have full control of our Chinese activities,” Samuelsson said. “It means we can use the Chinese factories in parallel with our European ones.”

Geely chairman Shufu Li was also in attendance in Shanghai. He said of the S90 Excellence’s interior layout: “We are responding to the demands and the needs of the market, and the S90 Excellence is an example of how different Volvo can be from its rivals.

“The unique features of a Volvo are its Scandinavian design, DNA of safety, and the nature of human-centred interior functionality rather than merely focusing on technology."

Read more: Volvo S90 production moves to China

Read more: Volvo S90 Excellence revealed

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Comments
9

3 November 2016
This sudden rush to move Volvo activity to China is concerning. Geely was sensible at first to keep Volvo's European cachet intact and let the brand focus on doing its own thing, but now they seem to want to drag as much as possible to China. The less there is in Sweden, the less the brand looks Swedish and the less the Chinese will want to buy the cars as will the rest of the world if they seem Chinese. It's unfortunate, but a fact of the market. Turning Volvo into MG or, even worse Borgward, is not the way forward.

3 November 2016
What a misleading headline - I think the author has misinterpreted the use of the word lead. I believe Mr Samuelsson meant the Chinese R&D centre can be a market leader in terms of that specific niche of interior design, rather than it leading all Volvo interior design as implied by the headline.

Mr Sheehan - please consider rewording.

3 November 2016
m_bowl wrote:

What a misleading headline - I think the author has misinterpreted the use of the word lead. I believe Mr Samuelsson meant the Chinese R&D centre can be a market leader in terms of that specific niche of interior design, rather than it leading all Volvo interior design as implied by the headline.

Mr Sheehan - please consider rewording.

Flag chinese troll

3 November 2016
shortbread wrote:
m_bowl wrote:

What a misleading headline - I think the author has misinterpreted the use of the word lead. I believe Mr Samuelsson meant the Chinese R&D centre can be a market leader in terms of that specific niche of interior design, rather than it leading all Volvo interior design as implied by the headline.

Mr Sheehan - please consider rewording.

Flag chinese troll

Er, no. Neither my comment or the other you flagged were pro-China. My point was, that it'll be the China centre that focus on replacing passenger seats with oversized shoe holders and other such things that back seat owners may desire, but they'll not be leading all interior design. At least that was my interpretation of the quote.

3 November 2016
Pandas and Bamboo designs on roof and seats would look great alongside The Great Wall graphics on the interior trim.A TEACH YOURSELF MANDARIN cd included for first 1000 export orders.Prices 30% less if made in P.R.C.

3 November 2016
Costs will be a lot less, prices will remain the same.

3 November 2016
230SL wrote:

Costs will be a lot less, prices will remain the same.

Flag chinese troll

3 November 2016
230SL wrote:

Costs will be a lot less, prices will remain the same.

Flag chinese troll

3 November 2016
I lost interest in buying new Volvos when they lost design independence after Ford took over. The Phase III Volvo V70 was the catalyst for me to find another manufacturer and nothing that I've seen since would make me want to go back.
This news can do little to suggest that their design autonomy will return anytime soon.

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