In past years, the Shanghai auto show hasn’t had much to offer in the way of new model debuts. But this year’s show is proving to be a big one, with more than a handful of concepts and new models making their world debut. As we reported last week, Volvo had plans to unveil its Concept Universe at either Shanghai or New York. Sure enough, the Chinese-owned company chose Shanghai as the venue to reveal its latest concept.
The Concept Universe is a sedan with an almost coupe-like profile, a trait that Volvo attributes to its new-found Scandinavian design language. Volvo’s goal with this new direction in design is to make its cars more human-centric, offering products designed around its customers’ lifestyles. “Our aim is to be the brand that best understands what buyers of modern luxury cars want,” said Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo.
Volvo describes the Concept Universe as simple yet exceptionally refined, intended to “spark a subconscious desire and feeling of eternal beauty.” Volvo also claims to have incorporated design elements of its past models in the concept universe. We had a hard time finding those elements until we got to the front end, which bears a slight resemblance to that of the Volvo 100-series.
The interior of the Concept Universe is also designed to be simple and human-centric, according to Volvo. The front seats are intended to make the driver feel like they’re in command, with intuitive controls and a touch screen that gets closer when it senses the driver reaching for it. The rear is meant to be comfortable and seamless, having seats that flow into the rest of the interior.
“The Concept Universe offers the world a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan,” said Jacoby. Shanghai is only the first stop for the concept, which will eventually be exhibited in Europe and the U.S. While it’s only a concept today, the Universe has elements that look like they could easily make the jump from concept to production form. Could this be the next Volvo S80? Time will tell.