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Volvo maps out model onslaught

New beginnings: Volvo’s new-gen XC60 will hit Australian showrooms by the end of this year.

All-new 40-series model to reach Australia after next-gen Volvo XC60

Volvo logo28 Apr 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

VOLVO Cars Australia is gearing up to launch its all-important XC60 SUV in the final quarter of this year before the expected launch of an all-new 40-series model just months after it.

The all-new models are part of the company’s massive new-model rollout that kicked off with the XC90 seven-seat SUV nearly two years ago.

The second-generation XC60 mid-size SUV, revealed at this year’s Geneva motor show, is confirmed for a quarter four, 2017 Australian launch and will be the fourth model spun off Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) to hit local shores.

It follows the big XC90 SUV from 2015, the S90 large sedan that was launched in October, 2016 and the related V90 Cross Country that has quietly gone on sale around the country in the past two months.

Volvo Cars Australia director of corporate and PR Greg Bosnich stopped short of saying that the XC60 would continue to be the company’s best-selling model Down Under, but added that it was likely to remain a popular pick.

“XC60 has been a strong performer for Volvo Cars in Australia and we see that trend continuing,” he said.

The XC60 has been the Swedish car-maker’s top seller in Australia since 2010 – its first full year on sale – when it hit 1699 units, before achieving its best result in 2012 of 2179 units.

Volvo recorded 2134 XC60 sales last year, the models second best result, seven years into its life cycle. So far this year 410 XC60s have been sold, a 30.7 per cent dip over the first three months of 2016.

As previously reported, the model onslaught will see all existing models replaced, as well as new model lines added to the roster, by the end of this decade.

While the S60/V60 mid–size sedan and wagon twins are the most likely candidates to be replaced next given they went on sale in 2010, it appears that the new compact 40-series models are next in line.

Volvo previewed its suit of new-generation 40-series models with the Concept 40.1 and 40.2 in May last year, revealing the expected design of a future crossover – likely dubbed XC40 – and a small Audi A3-rivaling sedan respectively.

Mr Bosnich confirmed that the first 40-series model, which will eventually replace the existing V40 and V40 Cross Country, will beat the next-gen S/V60 to market and it could be here as early as the first quarter of 2018.

“The S60 and V60 current series is an ongoing production. We will make comment on new model introductions closer to the dates of start of production.

“The first new 40 series car is expected to go into production in 2017 and, depending on exact timing, we will see the first 40 series vehicle in Australia some six months later.” While the next S/V60 will, like the XC60, S/V90 and XC90, be based on the SPA underpinnings, the 40-series – which is also expected to include a third hatchback body style – will be produced using the new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA).

This platform will also form the basis of models from Volvo’s Chinese parent company, Geely, as well as the recently announced models from its youth-focused brand, Lynk & Co.

One Volvo model that is under a cloud for Australia is the V90 wagon.

While the jacked-up V90 Cross Country has just gone on sale in Australia, Mr Bosnich was vague about the prospect of the regular version making it Down Under.

“V90 is still in ongoing discussions and no firm date has been set for this model,” he said.

If Volvo decides to bypass the regular V90 wagon, it would mimic decisions by Audi and Mercedes-Benz who have both decided to offer the higher-riding versions of their large wagons in Australia.

Audi only offers the A6 Allroad and Mercedes recently announced it would only import the E-Class All-Terrain, while BMW has said it will sell the regular 5 Series wagon in Australia from the second half of this year.

The regular V90 has not been completely ruled out however, with Mr Bosnich suggesting the Cross Country would be the more popular model of the two variants.

“Volvo has a strong heritage with both the wagon and the Cross Country variant, so depending on the timing of the V90 introduction, the V90 Cross Country will initially have the greater volume.” Another model that Volvo quietly launched in Australia without much fanfare was the V60 Cross Country wagon that arrived in late 2015 as a rival for the likes of the Audi A4 Allroad and VW Passat Alltrack.

While it has not set the sales charts on fire – it found 95 homes last year and just 15 so far this year – Mr Bosnich said the V60 Cross Country fills a niche for the brand in Australia.

“The 60 series is our oldest product offering. V60 Cross Country is a niche product and with the thirst for SUVs it needed to find its own niche.

“We believe the vehicle achieves this and is an alternative for people looking for a variation in that medium SUV segment.”

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