Future Models - Volvo 2015 XC40
Frankfurt show: Volvo moots V40 diversification
Broadening: Volvo just launched the V40-based Cross Country but the next-gen hatch due a few years hence could spawn a more traditional SUV derivative.
Volvo V40-based SUV, Geely spin-off both on the cards in medium-term future
11 September 2013
VOLVO will look to spin a proper small SUV and potentially a small sedan off
its next-generation, in-house ‘CMA’ V40 architecture due a few years down the
While the company says growth in China and the US with re-generations of its
current models, starting with a new XC90 due in 12 months time, is key to its
ambitious growth plans, an expansion into other segments is also being looked
The Chinese-owned, Swedish based company is on record as wanting to roughly
double its current volumes to 800,000 units per annum by 2020. It is understood
Volvo’s entire range will be turned over or substantially facelifted within
Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in an interview at this week’s Frankfurt
motor show that a broader range of V40 derivations to compete with rivals such
the Benz A-Class, GLA and CLA triplets, was firmly on the table.
“First step is replacing all the things we have and then I can say if we should
have one more car it’s probably a small SUV. It’s on the CMA wish list. The
market is moving in that direction with more small premium cars, and we have to
be there,” he said.
“We have V40 but that’s only a hatchback. You could imagine a small SUV or
small sedan version,” he said.
Volvo just launched the V40 Cross Country, a jacked-up version of the existing
V40 bodystyle. It is understood the potential future car - perhaps called the
‘XC40’ - Mr Samuelsson referred to would be a more traditional SUV-style of car
a la the Audi Q3, BMW X1 or Mercedes GLA.
Meantime, Mr Samuelsson also said the company would look to expand its
production scale by sharing the aforementioned next-generation V40 componentry
with Chinese parent company Geely.
The current, eighteen-month-old V40 is the final Ford-based Volvo. An
opportunity to share components with its Chinese parent would give Volvo
valuable economy of scale, thereby boosting profitability.
Geely CEO Gui Sheng Yue recently told media the company was moving down the
path of joint development with its Volvo subsidiary, which it bought for $1.2
billion euros in 2010. He said the first model could make it to market within
the space of a few years.
Intriguingly, Mr Samuelsson this week drew an analogy between Volkswagen or
Audi and the VW Group’s budget Czech subsidiary Skoda to describe this
joint-venture with Geely, albeit with the roles reversed: in this case, the
less prestigious brand owns for the more prestigious one.
“If you go to the next V40… that will be shared in other direction, it’s more
like Audi and Skoda, where we make a small Volvo and Geely makes a small Geely
that will play the role of Skoda,” he said.
“The two cars will be very different, appeal to different customers, but be
equal enough to share components, maybe the same gearbox, engine and
suspension. It will be a no compromise platform, and increased volume from
Geely will be all the better.”
Asked whether this could hurt Volvo’s brand reputation, Mr Samuelsson responded
in the negative.
“I don’t think VW has any plan with arguing in this respect, no problem with
Audi, VW and Skoda, but there’s a lot of common parts behind the panels. I don’
t think customers care,” he said.
It is expected the V40/Geely twins will both be made in China, with the Volvo
version also to be made in Sweden. Volvo will produce joint-venture cars for
China in China from later this year, and exports to the West - even Australia -
from that plant are on the cards for the medium-term, according to Mr
“Volvo will be made in China from late this year. Next step is to look within
that region, mainland Asia, but I would not exclude Australia, although plans
are not concrete right now and it’s too early at the moment. Well within a
decade,” he said.
Volvo used the Frankfurt show to stage the premiere of its big and beautiful
hybrid Concept Coupe design study - the first in a series of three concepts the
company plans to unveil soon to make clear its future design direction.
New senior vice-president of design Thomas Ingenlath said on the Volvo stand
that the company’s new-generation of cars would inherit elements of the Coupe’s
design such as the broad shoulder-line and grille.