Now though, the brand has set its sights on other segments as it reveals the concept versions of its next 40s range.
The newly-revealed 40 series concepts demonstrate for the first time how Volvo plans to expand into the global market for premium small cars with a range of vehicles that combine new exterior and interior design with industry-leading connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving technologies.
The new concept cars will be the first Volvos built on the company’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which has been specifically created for smaller cars and in so doing, liberated the company’s designers and engineers to explore bold and daring new directions.
“Each member of our product family has its own distinct character, just like the members of a real family. CMA has helped us to capture something special, something youthful, in our new concept cars. They have an energy, a disruptive and engaging urban character that makes them stand out amongst the crowd. This is the flavour of small Volvos to come,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design, Volvo Car Group.
Volvo’s small car strategy is an essential element in its ongoing global operational and financial transformation. The Swedish company is currently implementing an ambitious revitalisation plan that will reposition the brand to compete with its global premium competitors within the next four years.
Volvo’s new global small-car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as twin engine plug-in hybrid variants, in line with the company’s commitment to the electrification of its entire portfolio. Volvo plans to have sold a total of one million electrified cars by 2025, globally.
The brand will also introduce a new T5 twin engine, a three-cylinder petrol engine with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission coupled to an electric motor, which drives the front wheels in these smaller vehicles.
“By taking a modular approach to both vehicle architecture and powertrain development we have succeeded in leap-frogging many other players in the premium segment,” says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development. “Our new battery electric variant opens yet another exciting chapter in the unfolding Volvo story,” he said.
“The new 40-series cars have the potential to improve our market penetration in an important growing segment,” says Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive, Volvo Cars “An electric powertrain programme including both a new compact twin engine plug-in hybrid as well as a pure electric car are central to the CMA architecture,” says Samuelsson. He adds that the first new 40-series car is expected to go into production in 2017.
The announcement of Volvo’s new global small-car strategy comes on the back of a strong start to the year in terms of sales and profitability.