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Exclusive: Volvo studies coupe-style SUV – cautiously

50 shades: It’s too early to tell whether Volvo will spring a coupe-style ‘XC50’ SUV based on its wildly successful XC60 (pictured), but the concept is under study at the Swedish brand.

Volvo design chief reveals SUV coupe genre under study, but mindful of brand image

4 May 2018

VOLVO’S global design chief Robin Page has revealed that the Swedish car-maker is studying coupe-style SUVs as an extension of its successful XC90, XC60 and all-new XC40 models, but warned that entering too many niche segments could damage the brand.

In Australia this week for the launch of the XC40, Mr Page, who is responsible for the design of all Volvo and Polestar cars, was asked by GoAuto whether the company would follow rivals such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz in producing sloped-backed versions of its premium SUVs.

“If you look at how BMW and Mercedes do it, it’s almost an easy cash-in to say, ‘Okay, you’ve got your SUV now, let’s do a low roof and get more volume out of that,’” he said.

“You’ve got to kind of be careful not to do too much of that, otherwise you start to damage your brand, I think.”

Asked if this means the company had ruled out entering the segment, which has proven successful for BMW (with X6, X4 and has prompted an X2) and Mercedes (with GLE Coupe and GLC Coupe), Mr Page said: “I’m not saying that. We’ve got the potential to do it, we’re still going through discussions and studies to see what we’ll do.

“We have still a big demand for the Vs, the estates, and in America the saloons. Then the discussion comes around about the little twists on that – coupes, obviously, or convertibles. They’re the other studies that are going on.”

But he agreed that niche variants, including coupe-style SUVs, were not at the top of the design team’s current agenda “because they’re not the bread-and-butter cars”.

It is too early for an ‘XC30’ but an ‘XC80’ could provide an important boost for Volvo at the top end of its all-important SUV range and an ‘XC50’ could sit comfortably alongside the wildly successful XC60.

While Mr Page declined to talk about the forthcoming V/S40 small car that will be built on the same compact modular platform as the XC40 – other than the fact that we should expect to see design cues on the small SUV transferring across to the passenger car – he did confirm that a sports version of the forthcoming S60 sedan would be produced.

Despite the fact that Polestar has now been reinvented as a standalone electrified vehicle brand, Mr Page said that did not mean Volvo would be left without its own high-performance versions of its core models.

“With the S60, we will do a twist on that car that’s very sporty,” he said.

“I think there’s room in the market to do that.”

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