Volvo has confirmed that it will stop selling the C30 hatchback by the end of this year. In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman told us today that "we have made the decision to discontinue C30 production."
Volvo acknowledges that the C30 helped the company build its brand image in the States, but says the company must now reshuffle its lineup "to better position Volvo for the future and the next stages of our model portfolio."
Volvo launched the 2008 C30 here in 2007, hoping that the quirky hatchback would appeal both to driving enthusiasts and style-conscious small-car shoppers. For the former, the Volvo C30 offered a standard 2.5-liter turbo-five engine with 227 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque -- and a claimed top speed of 149 mph. For the latter customers, Volvo touted the large glass liftgate inspired by the Volvo 1800ES, and interior treatments like a waterfall-style center stack.
The C30 "helped us connect with enthusiasts and also fulfilled its purpose in supporting Volvo as a luxury brand," Volvo said in a statement. Sadly, that support didn't include bringing customers to the showroom.
The C30 has never been a volume leader for Volvo, and so far this yearVolvo has sold just 2173 C30s in the U.S. Annual sales peaked at 4299 units in 2008, the car's second year on the market, but fell to 4266 in 2007, 2906 cars in 2010, and 3471 units last year.
For contrast, the Mini Cooper hatchback has sold 21,343 units so far this year -- and a total of 28,067 copies last year. Even the Fiat 500, which has been struggling to find a niche in the American market, managed to accumulate 19,769 sales in 2011.
One problem is price: the 2013 Volvo C30 starts at $26,395 after destination, considerably more expensive than either of the above-mentioned stylish hatchbacks, or performance models like the Volkswagen GTI. The top-of-the-line C30 R-Design Platinum costs $33,745.
It's not clear yet whether Volvo will introduce a new car to replace the C30 in its lineup, but the company notes that fans of the hatchback can still order one of the 250 Polestar-tuned Limited Edition models. The car's turbo-five engine has been upgraded to 250 hp, and it wears a host of visual upgrades like matte-black 17-inch wheels and special Rebel Blue paint.
A Volvo official tells us the company also will discontinue the C30 overseas. Elsewhere, the company has launched the V40 four-door hatchback that could easily serve as a replacement for the C30. So far the automaker hasn't announced plans to sell the V40 in the U.S., even though Europeans can pick from a variety of models including the rugged Cross Country and fancy R-Design versions.