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Future models - Volvo - XC40

Volvo XC40 draws closer

Future face: Volvo's new XC90 is set to get a little brother in the form of the XC40 compact SUV that will be built on the same all-new platform as the next-generation V40.

New Volvo small-car architecture to spawn XC40 crossover ahead of next-gen V40

Volvo logo19 Feb 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

VOLVO’S mooted XC40 compact SUV looks set to be launched before the car on which it will be based, the next-generation V40 small car.

The entry level model for Volvo’s SUV line-up will sit under the new XC90 large SUV and the second-generation XC60 mid-sizer that is due within two years.

It will compete with the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

The Swedish car-maker previously confirmed it would offer an SUV in its so-called 40 cluster, but rather than basing it on the current V40 platform – a carryover from its days under Ford ownership – it will be built on a new platform to be shared with its Chinese parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

The Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) will produce all of Volvo’s small models. Everything larger, from the next-generation S60/V60, XC60 and forthcoming S90/V90, will be built on the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) that has just made its debut with the XC90 seven-seat SUV.

Speaking with GoAuto at the first international drive of the XC90 in Spain this week, Volvo Car Group product manager Lars Lagstrom stopped short of confirming the order of the models but gave a strong indication we would see the small crossover first.

“We have seven-year cadence on the cars, and we have never had an XC40, so I think an XC40 can occur earlier than the cadence of the V40 is replaced,” he said. “I won’t say it will, but it can, because it is a totally new car.”

Mr Lagstrom said the platform would also be used to underpin a still secret Geely model or models, and added that engineers were busy working to ensure it catered for both brands.

“The development team for that platform is in Gothenburg,” he said. “There are a lot of Swedes there doing that platform because it is going to be common with Volvo and Geely products.

“So we need to make sure we have all the Volvo things in place. Geely has given us the confidence that we should do this and we need to listen to them, so we really have a platform that is useful for both of us, without compromise.”

Volvo has just kicked off a complete model rejuvenation – starting with the new XC90 – that will see its entire model range replaced within four years.

However, Mr Lagstrom said there are some segments the car-maker will not enter, such as the sub-V40 premium light-car market occupied by the Audi A1 and possibly a new Toyota Yaris-based Lexus.

“There is such huge competition there and there is so little money in that area. We need to be profitable in all our models, otherwise we are not sustainable all the time.”

Volvo has also confirmed development of the S90/V90 sedan and wagon to be built on the same SPA platform as the XC90 that will replace the ageing S80 and give the Swedish company a true rival for the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6.

Mr Lagstrom said he does not think it is risky entering a segment that has experienced a significant downturn in recent years.

“I don’t see it is a risk because we are working much more with the design, and we are targeting the competitors.

“The competitors are in the same size and same price class and if we can compete with the German competitors with the XC90, we are also able to do it, because the platform allows us to do that and we have the hybrid thing in place without taking up any space.

“I don’t foresee that as a risk. Because if we have foreseen it as a risk we never would have started that product. We have done extensive research on everything we do.”

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