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Volvo S60 Polestar to boost image, sales

Volvo looks to new flagship to bolster sedan range, boost broader S60 sales

Volvo logo22 Apr 2013

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in SWEDEN

VOLVO Car Australia hopes the limited-edition Polestar sedan will give its languishing S60 sedan sales a boost.

Arriving from late June at a projected $120,000 starting price, the high-performance flagship will only be limited to the three-year-old sedan series for the time being, to help rebalance Volvo’s reputation as a provider of vehicles beyond SUVs and wagons.

According to managing director Matt Braid, the S60 Polestar is an ideal model to remind buyers steering towards the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and Lexus IS that Volvo provides exciting yet balanced luxury sedans.

Last year, S60 sales slid 21 per cent over 2011 levels, to just 640 units. In comparison, the C-Class found 10 times that number of buyers over the same period.

Sales have fallen further this year, with just 114 new registrations for S60 to the end of March, down 33 per cent on the same period last year.

“We’re identifying plenty of opportunities for growth in Australia, particularly around our sedans,” Mr Braid said.

“We’re strong players in the SUV side, we’re strong with wagon side, and the V40 has kicked off very well in its segment so far. The real opportunity for us, where we have an upper ceiling that we haven’t tapped into yet, is sedan sales. And the S60 is the key model in that. We want to obviously amplify the S60 nameplate.

“That (sports sedan) segment is the most masculine, hence why this (Polestar) product is key. And that’s our absolute focus for the moment.

“This is just chapter one. What could happen with chapter two, three, four, five and six … I don’t know. Right now we’re focusing on the S60 Polestar.”

Mr Braid indicated that only when VCA gets its sedan sales in order would it move to any possible Polestar versions of other models such as the V60.

“Down the track, potentially, there could be a wagon,” he said. “But right now, honestly, I don’t know.

“Other markets might go, ‘Hey, can we get you to do this?’ So SUVs might well come.

“This is the pilot project for what Polestar can do for the Volvo Car Corporation. This is the first car that they have engineered.”

As unveiled at last month’s Geneva motor show, the forthcoming S60 facelift will bring a host of improvements and updates designed to reignite interest in the series.

Along with Series II versions of the V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80, it will arrive in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year.

No S60 Series II Polestar facelift version has yet been announced. If it gets the go-ahead following a successful release in Australia, buyers will have to wait until later in 2014 at the earliest.

Future iterations will most probably include improvements such as paddle shifters, a fruitier exhaust, and more power, according to one Polestar spokesman.

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