Head of Volvo Rules Out S-Class Rival
|   Saturday, April 27, 2013
Volvo displayed the Concept Universe at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show, a study that was said to preview the company's flagship luxury sedan. In the same year, at the Frankfurt show, the Swedish automaker came up with another study for a large luxury car, the Concept You. We could say these two concepts demonstrated that Volvo was serious about launching a flagship saloon model.

But Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo, has denied all rumors of a model to compete with the S-Class, specifying that the brand will focus on compact cars.


Volvo will not develop a luxury sedan that will struggle with the S-Class and 7 Series. According to Automotive News, which spoke with Samuelsson, Volvo might not ever build a model to fight the flagships of the premium trio from Germany. This is because these models do not fit the brand image of the Swedish manufacturer, says Samuelsson.

"We don't have any ambitions to go into a segment where we would compete with vehicles that have V8 or V12 engines. We don't believe it would fit our brand image," Samuelsson told to Automotive news. The executive says that there are no plans and no desire for the company to go any larger than the S80 or what can be supported by its new Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) platform.

The previous head of the Volvo brand, Stefan Jacoby, said that such a model would not be in accordance with the brand image, which shows the closeness of the two visions of the brand leaders from Goteborg. Following Zhejiang Geely Holding Group's acquisition of Volvo in 2010 (Geely Holding bought the Swedish manufacturer from the Ford for 1.5 billion dollars), the Chinese company's CEO, Li Shufu, expressed his opinion that Volvo should compete directly with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Despite previously displaying high-end cars such as the Concept You, Samuelsson's statement maintains what Volvo has said recently, which is that the SPA platform has been designed to exclusively use 4 cylinders. The first and largest vehicle to be made on the SPA platform will be the 2015 XC90, which will be revealed next year. Unlike the first generation model that offered five-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines over its lifetime, we expect the new XC90 to use just 4 cylinders due its SPA background.
It is also speculated that the upcoming generation of the Volvo S80 will be built on the SPA platform and may give birth to a new V80 range-topping wagon. However, for the moment, the XC90 will reign at Volvo's model hierarchy.

So, it seems that Volvo will continue to emphasize safety and longevity, the 2 qualities that have made the brand famous. Differentiation from other brands will be through versatility design, and ease of use.
On a side note, Volvo plans to produce cars in China and they will be conducted as scheduled, says Samuelsson. Geeely's factory from Chengdu is ready to begin production later this year, requiring the final approval from the Chinese government. This plant will supply alomst 250 Volvo dealerships in China for the next decade, a huge increase from the 150 dealers today.
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