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Volvo ponders diesel for XC

Diesel do it: A turbo-disel version of the V70XC was launched in Europe in May. It could be here late next year.

Volvo is the latest European car maker to consider an oil-burning off-roader for Australia

24 Jun 2002

VOLVO could be the next European manufacturer to approve the launch of turbo-diesel technology in Australia, considering it not only for the forthcoming XC90 but also the V70-based XC70.

The triggers for Volvo Car Australia's considerations are the improvement in local diesel fuel legislated from 2003 and the introduction of the D5 turbo-diesel into its range in Europe last year.

If the thumbs-up is given, the engine could arrive here in both XC variants before the end of 2003, meaning Volvo would join Mercedes-Benz (ML), Audi (Allroad) and BMW (X5) in offering oil-burning off-roader derivatives.

The all-alloy, 2.4-litre D5 is the first turbo-diesel designed and built by Volvo in Sweden.

Previously it sourced its diesel engines from Volkswagen.

The new unit produces 120kW at 4000rpm and a stump-pulling 340Nm at 1750-3000rpm, with a claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time of 11.5 seconds in the XC.

New Volvo Car Australia managing director Alwin Popken confirmed a feasibility study was underway, while recently launching his first new model, the S60 AWD (see report page 5).

"What we are doing actually at this stage is investigating if we would like to launch the diesel engine in either the XC90 and or the XC70," Mr Popken said. "I think the acceptance in the Australian market for the diesel engine is increasing.

"The diesel requires some special tools at the dealer network, this is one consideration.

"There is the homologation work on different types of diesel around the world that has to be looked into and, indeed, you have to judge if it contributes to further profitable growth." The D5 is one of two diesel engines available from Volvo, but the other is only 95kW and is not being considered. The D5 is also offered with the S60, V70 and S80, but Mr Popken dismissed any passenger car applications.

"My thinking at this stage is if it fits in any of our cars it's most likely to be a good match for the XC," he said.

VCA's ambitions for a turbo-diesel are moderate, Mr Popken agreeing that gaining an additional 10 per cent on top of petrol XC sales would be acceptable.

VCA is shooting for a total of 1500-1600 XC sales in 2003 with the new XC90 mid-sized off-roader, due for launch in the second quarter of 2003, accounting for about 800 of those.

The XC90 will be launched here with petrol variants only - a choice of 2.4-litre five-cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit turbo engines. The D5 version of the V70XC was launched in Europe in May.

* The name game continues for Volvo's V70- based off-road model. Called the Cross Country when launched here in September, 2000, it has been temporarily renamed V70XC and will be renamed again as XC70 at the end of the year to coincide with the launch of the XC90. Originally, in the old bodystyle, the car was called V70XC.

* Volvo will launch a minor update of the S80 in July-August and a slightly more significant revision of the S40 and V40 in August. Watch out for 75th anniversary limited edition Volvo models around October.

* Volvo has also just launched a used car program with 22 of its 40-odd dealers. The program includes a 14-day exchange commitment.

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