That was six years ago. However, Geely’s initial purchase was just the warm-up act for an investment plan that will eventually pour an incredible $11bn into new models, new platforms, new engines and new technologies for Volvo – some of which we’ve already seen and some of which we’ve yet to see.
So having looked like a doomed failure under Ford, Volvo now has a very respectable, strong-selling family hatch in the V40, an excellent large SUV in the XC90, some very competitive Drive-E petrol and diesel engines and one of the most convincing plug-in hybrid powertrains yet developed.
Now, perhaps, for the acid test of this bold new era: a brand-new take on the traditional big saloon and estate cars that have represented the company’s lifeblood.
The V90 estate is due in the UK late this year, but the S90 can already be ordered and deliveries will begin in September.
Volvo claims the S90 represents a greater threat to the German dominance of the executive market than any of its cars have before. And it undergoes this road test in current entry-level form: a £33,000, 187bhp, Momentum-spec diesel.
For now, the S90’s power comes from either that 187bhp D4 2.0-litre Drive-E diesel, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive, or a more fiercely blown D5 version of the same engine that produces 232bhp and 354lb ft and drives through eight automatic gears and four driven wheels.