Report: Volvo Developing Volkswagen Golf Rival for 2012

After splitting from Ford, adopted by the Chinese, and replacing it's CEO, what's next for the Volvo Car Corporation? According to Stephan Jacoby, the company's newly installed CEO, a four-door hatchback, designed to compete against the likes of Volkswagen's Golf, is a high priority.

Volvo's interest in small, entry-level vehicles isn't that shocking, as reports previously suggested the company was working on a pair of compact offerings. While one model has been confirmed as a small crossover designed to wrestle with BMW's X1, the other is a little more conventional: a four-door hatchback, likely based upon the C30, the automaker's existing C-segment hatchback.

For those keeping score, the new model will be Volvo's first four-door hatchback since the demise of the awkward 440 in 1995. Unlike that model, the new Golf-killer isn't likely to remain a European exclusive, but it won't simply be a C30 with two extra doors. Jacoby tells Autocar that the new hatchback will exude "functionality and Scandinavian elegance." The report suggests the car will sport a front fascia that's tied to yet another new corporate design identity, although the two-door hatch now wears a nose similar to that of the all-new S60.

To compete against the Golf, the new model will have to be significantly less expensive than the C30's $25,450 starting price. VW's four-door Golf retails for nearly 20 percent less, with a starting price of $20,445 for a base five-cylinder, four-door model.

Although Volvo's S80 sedan and XC90 SUV are scheduled for a complete overhaul, the new high-volume hatchback is apparently a top priority for the company's design and engineering staffs. Such a vehicle is imperative, as Jacoby has announced he wants the automaker to sell some 800,000 vehicles annually by 2020 -- more than double the 335,000 cars it moved in 2009.

Source: Autocar, Bloomberg

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