Two recent reports about Volvo’s future give somewhat conflicting information about Volvo’s product expansion going forward. The first, from AutoCar, suggests that Volvo will be expanding on the lower end of the market with a new C-segment platform to be developed with its Chinese owner, Geely Auto. The second Automotive News report, though, cites Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson in saying that Volvo needs to move upmarket in order to sell vehicles in higher price brackets.
As Samuelsson told AN at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, he is not satisfied with Volvo’s current place in the U.S. market and feels that the brand’s U.S. business strategy needs to be revised.
“I think the company has no future if we are targeting mass market products,” Samuelsson told AN. “The new vehicles will be more expensive, but only if they deliver something the customer finds attractive.”
The first new Volvo model to move up in price will likely be the 2015 Volvo XC90 crossover, which we recently learned will follow in the styling direction of the recent Volvo Concept Coupe show car. The outgoing 2013 Volvo XC90 starts at $40,595, significantly lower than competitors like the $53,725 2014 BMW X5 and the $48,595 2013 Audi Q7.
The 2015 Volvo XC90 will likely be based on Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), a modular platform that is intended to provide the basis for future Volvo vehicles from midsize sedans all the way up to full-size crossovers. The new platform in development with Geely, though, is supposed to provide a smaller alternative to SPA, as adapting SPA for C-segment vehicles would compromise the platform too much according to AutoCar’s source at Volvo.
With the recent departure of the Volvo S40 and C30, Volvo’s smallest offering in the U.S. is the midsize S60 sedan. There have been recent reports of the European market only Volvo V40 compact hatchback coming to the U.S.; that model is based on a modified version of the Ford C1 Platform left over from Volvo’s previous Ford ownership.
This new joint Geely Volvo platform could be the basis for an upcoming XC40 crossover to slot in below the XC60 in Volvo’s lineup. Volvo has expressed interest in such a model previously, which would compete with models like the BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque in the compact luxury crossover segment.