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Volvo gets a boost from V8 Supercars

Star recruit: Volvo has sold half of the 50 allocated units of its S60 Polestar in Australia, with the remaining examples sent out to local dealerships.

V8 Supercar announcement, hardcore Polestar variant lifts S60 sales in Aus

Volvo logo17 Oct 2013

VOLVO’S launch of the S60 Polestar performance flagship and its move into V8 Supercar racing has had the desired halo effect on its mid-sized range, according to the company’s local chief.

Speaking at the local launch of the updated S60 and V60 range, Volvo Car Australia managing director Matt Braid said interest in the mid-size contender has lifted, with potential buyers drawn to dealerships on the back of the V8 announcement.

“You talk to people in showrooms and people at Bathurst, and they are saying ‘great, this is the car you are taking racing,’” he said. “People are starting to ask questions about S60, which is perfect.”

Despite the facelifted model arriving in showrooms this month, Mr Braid said orders for the outgoing S60 were up in September, with Mr Braid highlighting the V8 Supercar announcement as a factor.

“In the dealerships in the first two weeks of September, we had our strongest customer order for S60 since it was launched in 2011.

“So already we have seen a small uplift in enquiry and orders which is great, which we didn’t expect it would be this fast. We are happy with the evidence that it is starting to progress.”

Volvo sold 91 examples of the S60 last month, compared to 71 in August, 78 units in July and just 38 in June this year.

Mr Braid said a combination of factors has caused the small spike in S60 sales, including the launch of the S60 Polestar, the V8 Supercar announcement and the recently launched television advertising campaignDespite the boost in recent months, overall sales for the year to the end of September are down by 15 per cent on the same period last year, with 458 S60s sold compared to 536 in 2012.

Volvo has sold half its total allocation of 50 S60 Polestars in the four months since its launch, with 25 finding homes in Australia and the remaining examples of the hot sedan currently in dealers.

The hardcore all-wheel drive S60 Polestar is a result of a collaboration between the Swedish brand’s official racing partner and tuning outfit, Polestar, and Volvo Car Australia. The two companies took the concept to Volvo head-office, which then backed the idea, choosing Australia to host the pilot program.

Mr Braid said the initial allocation of the pilot program would not be extended and there will not be any more S60 Polestars built in its current guise, but he confirmed Volvo Car Australia’s interest in securing any future Polestar-tuned models.

“The reception the car has got and the interest it has created overseas within the Volvo world has been phenomenal so I’d like to think it is going to be successful.

“Our fingers are crossed as the performance pilot market for Volvo and Polestar, that we will hopefully be able to one day, in the not-too-distant future, talk about another project. I would love to be able to do that, but it’s yet to be determined.”

While there are no immediate plans for a second Polestar model, Mr Braid said the brand was keen to see another iteration of the S60 for the Australian market.

“Our first personal choice from an Australian perspective would be to do another S60. Some markets would probably prefer a wagon, other markets are saying give us a V40 Polestar hatch. I’m not sure where they will sit, but for us, I would love to see another S60 version come down the track.”

The Swedish car-maker used the launch of the turbocharged six-cylinder 257kW/500Nm S60 Polestar in June to announce its intentions to return to the Supercar series next year under the Volvo Polestar Racing banner.

Volvo became the fifth brand to enter the series, following Japanese brand Nissan’s Altima mid-size sedan and Erebus Racing’s non-factory backed Mercedes-Benz E-Class joining the series this year, alongside traditional local rivals Holden and Ford.

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