Volvo has confirmed it will replace its long-standing ‘S’ saloon and ‘V’ estate models, despite SUVs now accounting for 75% of its total sales.
The firm’s global best-seller, the Volvo XC60 SUV, sold more units (162,600) in the first three-quarters of 2021 than the S60, V60, S90 and V90 combined. Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said: “Yes, the [S and V] lines will be replaced with something even more attractive to consumers. We need lower cars with a more conventional body size but maybe a little less square [than previously]. These low cars will be in addition to our high-positioned SUVs. Stay tuned.”
When asked if the shape of the Volvo C40 Recharge SUV would lead to more coupé-inspired Volvos, Samuelsson said: “Yes and no. Cars will be less boxy in future, when we need to have lower air resistance. You could call it coupé-ish. We talk a lot about range in electric cars, but I think we will start looking at energy efficiency, and of course air resistance will be very central to that.”
Last year, Samuelsson told Autocar that the Swedish maker will increase its line-up of SUVs while cutting back on traditional saloons and estates, so Volvo traditionalists will be glad to hear that the V and S lines will continue in some form. However, they are unlikely to carry the V and S designations, as Volvo confirmed in July that it will give future models names, rather than alphanumerics.
Samuelsson is set to step down as Volvo SEO in March, to be replaced by ex-Dyson Group CEO Jim Rowan. He will also leave Volvo's board of management but continue to serve as chairperson of EV performance brand Polestar.
Volvo is also shifting its production priorities. It currently builds 15,000 EVs annually, but by autumn next year that capacity will increase to 150,000 EVs. On its aim to have 50% EV sales by 2025, Volvo’s chief financial officer, Björn Annwall, said: “You need customers who want EVs, and we’re fully confident ours do. You need great cars, which we have.”