NEW YORK – Volvo is doing more with less.
The auto maker’s current portfolio consists of seven distinct models, down from 10 before the 2008-2009 recession. The only new product on the horizon is a refreshed V60 wagon that won’t reach showrooms until January, followed by an all-new XC90 in first-quarter 2015.
Volvo did, however, display sporty R-Design versions of its S60 and XC60, souped up with 325-hp engines, at the recent New York auto show.
Sales of the standard S60 and XC60 were up 19% and 32%, respectively, in the first two months of the year, says John Maloney, president and CEO-Volvo Cars of North America.
This was accomplished with what he claims are the lowest incentives in the luxury segment, he says, adding Volvo residual values are expected to increase a bit this year.
The auto maker is standing pat with its current lineup because it is in a transitional period during which it is phasing out existing engines in favor of an all-new 4-cyl. that eventually will power all Volvo models.
The first new VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) engine goes into production this year and will be available in early 2014. The VEA promises improved fuel efficiency and lower carbon-dioxide emissions.
Volvo is planning to develop a C-segment car as a replacement for the S40. The auto maker doesn’t envision a future model designed specifically for the U.S., Maloney says, but for now is focusing on capturing, and owners intending to move into the luxury segment.
Former truck company executive Hakan Samuelsson, who took over last year as CEO of Volvo Car, tells WardsAuto the architecture for the S40 replacement will be developed in collaboration with Chinese auto maker Geely, Volvo’s owner.
“We are not seeking other partnerships. Our only collaboration will be with Geely on the C-segment car,” Samuelsson says, adding, “We will share components with Geely in the future.”
One of his priorities is to reduce Volvo's current lineup of eight engines to only one VEA powerplant that will be available in gasoline and diesel versions. However, there are no plans to bring diesels to the U.S.