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Volvo chief stands by V60

Plugged in: Volvo’s new-generation V60 wagon emerged at the Geneva motor show in March with two plug-in hybrid powertrains confirmed as part of the line-up.

Next V60 set to come to Australia as Volvo’s new chief hangs on to wagon heritage


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5 May 2018

VOLVO remains committed to passenger cars in Australia and is set to confirm that the new-generation V60 will be launched here, despite SUVs now accounting for the vast majority of its sales.

The company has been reviewing its participation in the shrinking mid-size sedan and wagon segment, but under new managing director Nick Connor, the Australian subsidiary of the premium Swedish brand is not about to walk away from models that have served it well in the past.

There is also a new-generation S/V40 compact passenger car in the pipeline that Mr Connor acknowledged will be an important volume driver for Volvo as it strives to double its annual sales in Australia to at least 10,000 units by 2020.

“We are becoming, effectively by default, a primarily SUV brand,” Mr Connor admitted.

“We’re increasingly known for our SUV products and that’s the way the world’s going. Pretty much every market you look at around the world, SUVs are becoming the most popular car choice.

“However, they are not for everyone. We make great sedans, we make great wagons, and I don’t want to turn our back on those. Our heritage has been built on the wagon market globally, and I think we’ve got real credibility with our estate cars pretty much everywhere in the world.

“So I would be loath to pull a car line like V60 from the Australian market. I see there are still plenty of wagons being sold here. Competitive brands do a pretty good job of selling them.

“Obviously, there comes a point where if the volumes are so low, it doesn’t really become economically viable to continue with the offer. But, ultimately, that’s the consumer choice, and we can’t make the market being a relatively small brand.

“But I don’t see that the market is so small in wagons now that we should think about pulling out.”

Mr Connor said a final decision on the new V60 was still to be made – and that this would be done soon – but emphasised that “my initial take is that there is still sufficient demand in the Australian market to support what is actually a fantastic car”.

“I think personally it would be a hell of a shame if we didn’t offer that here,” he said.

Set to launch in Australia early next year, the V60 was unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, emerging as a bigger and roomier model than the current generation and one that will be powered by two plug-in hybrid powertrains alongside conventional petrol and diesel engines.

The S60 sedan version is yet to be revealed and is also subject to an internal review at Volvo Car Australia.

On the forthcoming redesigned 40-series passenger car based on the same platform as the XC40, Mr Connor said the first-generation V40 had served the brand well globally as an entry model and in bringing new buyers into the fold, lowering the age of its owners in the process.

“The five-door hatchback market is strong everywhere,” he said. “It may not be growing in quite the extent of SUVs, but there’s a hard core of customers who want a five-door, five-seat hatchback that meets their needs.

“I think V40 fits that bill very well, so we should have a product that tries to capture that marketplace.”

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