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Volvo model onslaught hits high gear

Cross roads: Volvo will launch the V90 wagon and its higher-riding sibling, the V90 Cross Country in Australia next year.

New 40 and 60-series models up next as Volvo re-sets its product portfolio


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14 Oct 2016

VOLVO’S new-model onslaught continues apace with the arrival of the new S90 sedan this month, but the company is unlikely to expand beyond its three designated model groups in the immediate future.

The Swedish car-maker has already announced that it will focus on a trio of model groups – the smaller 40 series, mid-size 60 and large 90.

Its new-model strategy kicked off last year with the arrival of the second-generation XC90 seven-seat large SUV and has gained momentum this month with the launch of the S90 sedan that shares its SPA underpinnings. A V90 wagon and jacked-up V90 Cross Country will round out the 90 series models in 2017.

Next up for Volvo, either later next year or in 2018, will be the first of the new-generation 40-series models that will be produced on the all-new CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform that will also be shared with the car-maker’s Chinese parent company, Geely, for use on Geely-badged models and for its new mid-range brand, Lynk & Co.

The next all-new model will likely be the XC40 crossover that was previewed by the 40.1 concept back in May this year, possibly followed by the next-gen XC60 mid-size SUV.

Speaking with GoAuto at the S90 launch earlier this week, Volvo Car Australia managing director Kevin McCann said the new-generation 40 and 60 model reveal and launch timings would overlap.

“I think you will see 60 and 40 sort of intersecting each other,” he said. “The first 60 will come, then the first 40 then the next 60 the next 40. They will cross over each other over a two to two-and-a-half year period.”

Mr McCann explained the core product plan but added that, occasionally, there would be room for another model that could deviate from Volvo’s current product structure.

“In each one of those clusters there will be four variants. The XC, the S, the V and the CC (Cross Country). That’s our core product plan and then from time to time, and this is to use the wording from head office, from time to time there may be a special car. And that is in the product planning documents.

There is a box with a questions mark.”

While it is unclear what the special cars could be, there is a gap in the Volvo line-up that could be filled by a sportscar.

Such a sportscar could be based on the striking Concept Coupe it revealed back in 2013, which had fans calling for a production version, even though it was purely a concept to preview the car-maker’s latest design direction.

Mr McCann rejected the possibility of the Volvo line-up expanding up into even larger segments, suggesting that it was not in the company’s interest to develop a BMW 7 Series rival.

“No I think that for some brands it is important to have a model in that segment for flagship reasons, but actually the segment is quite small.”

As previously reported more variants of the S90 will arrive later this year and into 2017, including the sporty-looking R-Design and the Twin Engine T8 plug-in hybrid that uses the same powertrain as the electrified XC90 SUV that is already on sale.

Mr McCann confirmed that the T8 hybrid would be the performance variant of the range and while it was unlikely that there would be a full-fat Polestar version of the S90, hinted at some Polestar tweaking.

“The high-performance version will be the T8 because in absolute horsepower terms that produces the most. I think we will see a Polestar-enhanced version which will be more on the basis of us doing it here through our program.”

Volvo has detailed its plans to offer plug-in hybrid variants of most core models, which was highlighted again in May this year when the car-maker revealed the T5 plug-in system that will be used to power some variants of the 40-series models that, as well as the XC40, will include a replacement for the ageing V40 hatchback and a new small sedan.

While Volvo has yet to reveal its full electrification hand, Mr McCann said it was inevitable, given the company’s recent development work in that area.

“I think it is something on everybody’s agenda. We don’t have a really clear view on when that is coming at this stage. But one would suspect if a company is moving into electrification it will do so by degrees.”

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