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Volvo: No to Minivans but Yes to Wagons and Crossovers
Volvo is setting the spotlights ready and rolling the red carpet as it welcomes the newest wagons and crossovers into its stable. The new XC60 is scheduled to arrive in 2009 and by that time, the automaker is expecting to have a total of 5 wagons and crossovers in its lineup. But Volvo will not be stopping there since it intends to make further expansions.
The automaker is considering the idea on moving both upscale and downmarket from the existing lineup of the V50, V70, XC70, XC90 and XC60. This information was revealed by Volvo’s top executives at the recently held North American International Auto Show. According to Steven Armstrong, Volvo Car Corp. COO, “Volvo is well-known for its versatility. We were producing crossovers before the term was even invented. There are still plenty of opportunities to fill in gaps with new things."
It should be noted that Volvo has created a luxury wagon concept which it presented at the 2003 Geneva Auto Show called the Versatility Concept Car. The said concept if it makes production will be renamed V90. The automaker is also studying the prospect of producing smaller sized crossovers---much smaller than the XC60 said Lex Kessermakers, Volvo Car Senior Vice President of Brand Business and Product Strategy. He also added, "If we were to further expand our model range, likely it would be in the V or XC range."
The XC60 concept was launched at the recent 2007 North American International Auto Show. The said vehicle will share the same Ford C1 platform technology with the Land Rover Freelander. The automaker said that the vehicle should never be confused with the XC50 which was the first name used for the XC60. The vehicle exudes brand new styling and design direction that represents future Volvo vehicles.
The size of the XC60 is likened to that of the BMW X3 or Acura RDX. It also possess outstanding features like the glass roof, a newly styles grille, new shifting mechanism, mechanical tail gate, a much larger Volvo symbol, and 20-inch rims. Armstrong said that the XC60 is a logical option for people who entered the Volvo brand with the C30 hatchback or S40 sedan. And as for the V90, Kerssemakers said it is "high on my wish list, but we have to be realistic. There's a limit to what a small organization can do."
Although Volvo is planning of expanding its wagons and crossovers lineup but it stresses that it will not venture into the minivans segment. According to Kerssemakers, "The XC90 is our seven-seat interpretation. We're happy with it. Our customers are happy with it.” he also added that Volvo needs to ensure first that its current lineup is profitable before it venture into new arenas. "All those variants cost a lot of money. But it is easier to cancel or reduce volumes of a vehicle than to suddenly have to play catch-up."
Volvo has built several wagons and crossovers. And each of them has undergone rigid and meticulous engineering starting from the fitting of large car parts down to smallest details like the installation of