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XC60, the Future Design Direction of Volvo
Volvo, Ford’s Swedish luxury brand has earlier introduced a new sport utility vehicle that marks the beginning of a new design concept that would be employed for future Volvo cars. Steve Mattin, Volvo Cars Design Director said that the car represent “the DNA of future Volvos”. He further stated, “We’re about to elevate Volvo’s DNA to new levels by pumping up the volume. It takes the emotion of the C30 a step further."
The XC60 that made its debut at the recently held North American International Auto Show in Detroit was said to exude brand new styling and design that reflects the forthcoming lineup of the automaker.
The XC60 is an addition to the SUV lineup of Volvo. Its features include a glass roof, mechanical tailgate, 20-inch rims, new shifting mechanism and newly styled grille. Its large Volvo logo has also made it look bolder and meaner. As an added feature, it was given a distinct rear end to further emphasize the tailgate and the Volvo logo.
This is precisely what Steve Mattin meant when he said, “If you can recognize a Volvo from 50 meters today, I want to get to the point where people will be able to spot one from twice the distance in the future. We need to be recognizable as Volvo. We're still about Scandinavian simplicity; we can't be playful or do styling for the sake of styling. Volvos last a long time, so our design must have legs. But we can't be too simple or we'd edge toward blandness. And we can't just change; we must be fresh. I want to broaden our design and have more variation between car lines."
Volvo Car President Fredrik Arp has also added that the XC60 is likely to become “the C30 owner’s next car”. Arp also added that the production version of the SUV would be very much identical to the concept. Mattin said that XC60 was designed like a “giant iPod”.
The vehicle has undergone meticulous engineering so as not to compromise the traditional Volvo safety features. Volvo enthusiasts could still get to see the Volvo auto care feature that the loved like the low-speed adaptive braking system called the City Safety. This safety feature prevents the XC60 from running and crashing into the car in front that is running at low speed. The SUV is also given Volvo’s 3-liter 6-cylinder flex-fuel engine which allows the used of ethanol instead of the petrol. The new engine also reduces emissions by up to eighty percent.
“Our V8 package feels immensely solid. When it comes to power and performance, we’re in the same class as the very best in the segment. What’s more, we’re sure that a large proportion of these customers will appreciate the fact that the power and driveability can be combined with high safety and good environmental properties. It’s important that we can launch a V8 without compromising on our core values,” said Hans-Olov Olsson, Volvo Cars President and CEO.
The XC60 is Volvo’s entry to the fastest-growing sector of the automotive market. The automaker is also expecting for its XC60 to boost sales by seventy-five percent or 443,000 units of vehicles sold expected in the next couple of years. Volvo is also expecting that a great number of its buyers will come from the young and active urbanities. Arp also added that the XC60 will be as important as the C30 in expanding the brand’s sales. He further stated that the concept is a good indicator of what the production model will look like. It should be noted that Arp has previously made a statement confirming that the production will be identical to the concept.
Volvo has high hopes for its XC60 same as its other models. The XC60 SUV just like the other Volvo models are equipped with top-of-the-line auto parts from its most complicated parts down to bitsy parts like the Volvo ignition coil. This simply goes to show that the automaker is really serious when it comes to their cars.
Volvo is a medium size premier car maker in Sweden with a production of around 400,000 cars per year. It has been able to topple down Saab which was then the largest Swedish car maker. Unfortunately the volume of its manufactured cars was not enough to support the company and that was when Volvo industrial group, the mother company, decided to sell the car division to Ford in 1998 for .42 Billion USD. Volvo industrial has used the money in financing further its truck business.
Volvo Cars was then integrated into Ford’s premier Automotive Group (PAG) which consists of Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin (which Ford will also sell). Volvo has always kept its distinct design and R&D independent from the rest of other PAG members but shares platforms and components with Ford Europe and Mazda.
Volvo is recognized for producing the safest cars in the world and to keep up with this image the automaker has always made research and development its top most priority. The S40 and S80 manufactured by Volvo have scored the highest marks in the European NCAP crash test. Many innovations on car safety were also developed by Volvo such as the SIPS (Side Impact Protection System), inflatable curtain air bag, WHIPS (Whiplash Protection System) and the City Safety. Volvo is also the very first automaker to really take pedestrian protection seriously.
In the early 90’s the automaker has been building vehicles that are designed to lure younger buyers. It started by launching high-performance versions of the 850 sedan (T5 and T5R). This was succeeded by the introduction of a new breed of vehicles which includes the S80, V70 and S60 said to reflect the automaker’s new design direction. Volvo under Ford was able to expand its range to five model lines which includes the trend-setting XC90.
About the Author: Glady Reign is a 32 year old is a consultant for an automotive firm based in Detroit, Mi. she is a native of the Motor City and grew up around cars hence her expertise in the automotive field.