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Volvo slashes its range in search of buyers

Looking for a lift: The latest S80 T6 has 17-inch wheels standard.

Volvo gets serious about wooing more Aussie buyers with a reduced range of cars

Volvo logo25 Jul 2001

By BRUCE NEWTON

VOLVO has pared its range from 42 models back to 23 in Australia as it strives to improve its sales performance.

Virtually every model in the lineup is affected by Volvo's cull, from the S40 small car through to the S80 luxury liner.

Volvo is aiming for 4000 sales this year, and after six months was just 67 sales shy of the halfway point. Pricing remains virtually unchanged from April, when the last significant increases were announced.

The key changes include: * Replacing the 1.8-litre model in the base model S40 with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, for no extra charge.

* Volvo Navigation System, integrated phone, 17-inch alloy wheels, driver's power seat and woodline become standard on the V70 T5.

* The Cross Country is simplified to one model priced at $68,950 (Up $1000 from the old base-model price) with Geartronic semi-manual transmission, driver's power seat, alloy wheels and woodline standard.

* The C70 coupe and convertible are reduced to one spec each, with only the high-pressure 176kW turbo engine and auto transmission offered.

* The S80 2.9 now boasts Geartronic, fog lights, new-style 16-inch wheels, wood inlays and stability and traction control.

* The twin-turbo S80 T6 gains satellite navigation and 17-inch wheels.

Deleted models include the S and V40 1.8, the V40 T4, the Cross Country SE and the C70 2.4T coupe and convertible.

Volvo Car Australia managing director Richard Snijders said Volvo sales were 41 per cent ahead of the first six months of 2000 - primarily driven by the introduction of the S60 and Cross Country.

"However, like any results, ours need to be put into perspective," Mr Snijders said. "While our segment growth has been pleasing and our share has increased slightly, our main competitors, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, have experienced growth of 46 per cent and 58 per cent respectively." Mr Snijders said that to continue to maintain and grow sales, the range of Volvos sold in Australia had to be simplified.

"We started the year with 42 models and variants - not including the sunroof option. By the start of June we had streamlined our range to 23, with a variety better suited to the Australian market." Mr Snijders identified the S80 as a vehicle which can improve dramatically in performance in the second half of 2001.

"The S80 has not reached expectations this half year, with sales down 29 per cent," Mr Snijders said. "We believe the sales of this car do not reflect its true merits, as far as driving enjoyment, quality and luxury are concerned.

"With this in mind we will step up our marketing support of the S80 to turn this trend around." Pricing - effective from August 1
S40 2.0 $39,950m/$41,950a
S40 2.0SE $47,950
S40 2.0T $51,950
S40 T $56,950
V40 1.8/2.0 $41,950m/$43,950a
V40 2.0SE $49,950
V40 2.0T $53,950
S60 2.4SE $56,950m/$58,950a
S60 2.4T $66,950
S60 T5 $84,950
V70 2.4SE $59,950m/$61,950a
V70 2.4T $69,950
V70 T5 $87,950
Cross Country $68,950
C70 Coupe $88,000
C70 Convertible $98,000
S80 2.9 $81,950
S80 T6 $98,950
m= manual gearbox
a= auto gearbox

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