The Volvo SUV range could be set to grow with a flagship car sitting above the XC90 and an entry-level sub-XC40 one on the radar
Volvo is actively considering expanding its line-up of SUVs to include a larger model above the XC90 and a smaller vehicle below XC40, the company’s CEO has told Auto Express.
The Swedish brand today reported record sales figures of more than 340,000 vehicles in the first half of 2019 – although its profits took a slight hit because of tariffs and what company CEO Hakan Samuelsson called “increased pressure on margins in declining markets”.
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Volvo is undergoing a cost-streaming exercise to help restore profit growth in the second half of the year – and fresh production capacity, including the ability to produce the XC40 locally in China, should help the Geely-owned company to continue its progress.
However, Samuelsson admitted to Auto Express that while the company’s strong run of sales figures has been achieved through filling obvious holes in its product line-up – completing the ‘90’ and ‘60’ series of models, and working on the successor for the V40 to sit alongside the XC40 – it is also considering adding cars in new segments.
“Our strategy has been growth but not through adding pure volumes,” Samuelsson said. “We have been going in hard and being better in segments where we have a really strong offerings. That is the basic assumption. And now we also have the production capacity to grow this company, even a bit beyond 800,000-unit figure that we always talked about as a first ambition.
“But we are not excluding the idea of additions, especially in very core segments like the SUV. I think we are looking into this possibility now. You should not exclude the idea that there might be a bigger one, but maybe also a smaller one. We will surprise you about that in the future.”
The comments expand further on Samuelsson’s admission earlier this summer that Volvo could finally start looking at models to sit below the ‘40’ range – helped, perhaps, by Geely technology and the potential to lease small cars instead of selling them at lower prices. “We took one step down with XC40, which is our smallest SUV. We have a very strong line-up of SUVs. So never say never. There is a trend now that premiumness is more and more decoupled from size. Small cars can also be premium. Just because you have a small suit, it doesn’t have to be polyester. So let’s see.”
SUVs accounted for 61 per cent of Volvo’s sales in the first half of 2019, up 10 per cent from a year ago. And the firm expects the figure to nudge 70 per cent once local XC40 sales take off in China.
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