Volvo has no plans to build a rival for the Mercedes S-class, according to its boss Stefan Jacoby.
“It’s too early for us to enter that segment,” he said, “so it’s not in our mid or long-term plans. We won’t build anything larger than the [China-only] S80 L.”
Volvo's show car at last week's Shanghai motor show, Concept Universe, had been tipped to show a large new saloon, but instead it showcased a potential future Volvo design direction.
The big saloon was one of the most hotly debated cars at the show, thanks to controversial front-end styling that includes a major nod to classic Volvos, like the PV544. Design chief Peter Horbury admitted, “We’ll be discreetly asking people nearby during the show: ‘Do you think this could be a Volvo?’ We’ve been deliberately brave here.”
Volvo released few technical details about the show car, but it’s understood to be built according to the firm’s forthcoming Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA). Designed to support future models from the S40 right up to the Chinese-market S80 L, the new set-up is scheduled to be introduced at the Frankfurt show this coming autumn.
Jacoby also said Volvo is better off being wholly owned by Geely, instead of being part of a joint venture, such as those employed by many other European brands in China.
“There will always be different interests there,” he says. “We are in the same boat but we are also rowing in the same direction. As the Chinese partners expand, there could be problems for some of those OEMs in joint ventures.”