Special Coverage

Geneva
Auto Show

GENEVA – Volvo Cars debuts the XC60 cross/utility vehicle at the Geneva auto show here, the third new addition to the auto maker's lineup in the last eight years.

Volvo bills the XC60 as "the safest car it has ever produced," with the world's first standard application of a low-speed braking system dubbed City Safety.

The system is designed to reduce collisions that occur at speeds less than 30 mph (48 km/h) by automatically applying the brakes should the driver fail to react.

Frederik Arp, head of Volvo, says the XC60 will go on sale in the U.S. next January. The auto maker is targeting production of 50,000 units annually, of which 40% will be destined for the U.S.

The XC60 will be available with two different engines in Europe: a 6-cyl. gasoline powerplant or 5-cyl. turbodiesel. However, the gasoline mill will be the only engine offered in the U.S., Arp says.

With the addition of the XC60, as well as the XC90 SUV and C30 compact car, Volvo does not have the resources to add a B-car entrant to its product lineup, Arp says.

"We have no plans for that," he tells Ward's following Volvo's press conference here.

Of the C30, Arp says Volvo is conquesting about 80% of buyers in the U.S. from other brands.

"It's a lot of younger buyers who like premium cars and that type of design and, let's say, emotion," he says.

However, C30 volumes are purposely small, as the strength of the dollar makes it more difficult to earn a profit on the European-built model in the U.S.

"We are deliberately only selling high-spec C30s in the U.S.," Arp says, noting many buyers are luxury-brand owners.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com