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Future models - Volvo - XC60

Paris show: Family face for Volvo XC60

Big brother: Volvo’s next-generation XC60 will get the company’s latest styling language as seen on the new XC90.

Next-gen XC60 shapes up as Volvo keeps a check on model range expansion

Volvo logo6 Oct 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON in PARIS

VOLVO’S forthcoming new-generation XC60 will continue the styling theme of its bigger XC90 sibling when it surfaces in 2016 or 2017, while retaining its own identity, according the company’s R&D chief.

The second-generation XC60 is currently under development but is a few years away from a showroom debut as the Swedish car-maker focuses on the rollout of its all-new XC90 and development of its new sedan flagship, the S90 due to be revealed next year (see separate story).

Volvo Car Group research and development senior vice-president Peter Mertens told GoAuto that the company’s latest design language, which was previewed with a trio of concepts last year, will adorn the next compact SUV, but with a sportier feel.

“It will be a completely different vehicle, but of course it will have similarities in the face,” he said. “This is the new face of Volvo and you will see that in all our models.

“The design language for a 60 is different to a 90. This (XC90) is more luxurious and upright, and (the) other might be a bit sporty.”

Whether this styling differentiation will also carry over to S90 and the next-generation S60 remains to be seen.

Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) – the first non-Ford platform since the Blue Oval sold the company to Geely Holdings in 2010 – will form the basis for the XC60, as it does with the XC90. It will also be employed for the third-generation S60, due around 2016.

While the company is expected to introduce a compact crossover based on the next-gen V40 hatch within four years (see separate story), Mr Mertens said the company would not fill out its line-up in the way some of its rivals do.

“We are not going into every niche and follow our German competitors in that.

We don’t want to and we can’t,” he said.

Mr Mertens reiterated Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson’s comments to GoAuto at the Paris show about holding off on developing a coupe or sportscar until more mainstream models have been successfully introduced.

“We have to focus on what is absolutely essential right now, which is the renewal of our existing products and once that is done we going to think about beautiful other stuff, and I am always saying we think about coupes and convertibles once we have finished this line-up,” he said.

Discussing Volvo’s branding, Mr Mertens said the company could easily leverage its unmatched safety record and promote its product as visually appealing, even sexy, and highlighted the XC90 SUV, which made its motor show debut at Paris, as an example.

“Safety and only safety would never be enough. That is why we focus on four areas. One of which is safety, second is environmental friendliness – us going on four cylinders only, having electrification built in as standard.

“The third area is clever solutions and the fourth area is Scandinavian design.

The combination of safety and sexy design is what we are going to play with.”

Mr Mertens said the final area, Scandinavian design, was of particular importance given its current relevance in furniture design and architecture, and added a point of difference when compared with its European counterparts.

“It’s not only the design language in terms of form, also materials and colours. Honest materials, not fake wood, this is real wood. That is what we understand to be Scandinavian design and not being as loud and what others do in their design language,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean it has to be boring at all, it’s just a bit more refined than others.”

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.