How Volvo will proceed after being bought by Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has been eagerly anticipated and now, Volvo’s Concept Universe is on display at the Shanghai motor show.
This gives us a sneak preview of Volvo’s future direction. Volvo refers to the Universe as a “large, luxurious sedan with a new human-centric design language that honors the beautiful lines of classic Volvo models.”
Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO of Volvo, said that the Concept Universe provides a hint of what consumers can expect from the next top-of-the-line sedan.
Peter Horbury, the vice-president of design and who is on his second stint as its creative director, said that the Concept Universe is “exceptionally refined” but it has all the basic elements that “make Volvo champions of the uncomplicated.”
He also said that modern luxury car buyers have grown to appreciate this combination of design and technology. He said that Volvo is certain that there is an immense future for its unique brand of human-centric luxury.
Volvo insiders say that the specific platform and engine for the Universe has yet to be finalized. But even as the concept doesn’t exceed a length of five meters, Volvo sources say that it won’t be lengthened for the market in China due to “best-in-class interior space.”
The Universe project kicked off 12 months ago when Volvo’s designers were tasked to create a new form language for Volvo. The brand’s exterior designer Jonathon Disley said that the team went around the Volvo museum to see the classic models “from a different viewpoint.”
It is clear that the Volvo Universe Concept offers comfort like no other. The environment has been promoted to be user-focused and even simple. Comfort and relaxation are guaranteed for those in the rear while the front has been geared to be driver-oriented. Within the in-command driver environment, there are intuitive controls and even a touch screen that goes near the driver’s hand once the driver tries to reach it.
In addition, the driver gets to manage everything while sitting in what has clearly been motivated by ultra-comfortable chairs. Even the passengers sitting in the rear get to experience the comfort. The interior appears to mould to the rear seat, eventually becoming part of this seating environment. A dark-color scheme starts on the front seats to offer a dynamic feel. The color then slowly starts to fade flawlessly to the rear portion where the mood then changes to one of calm.
The Volvo Universe Concept continues to have many of the classic forms, textures and materials. However it applies a twist to it and ends up creating a more modern luxury experience. Peter Horbury adds that even if the Volvo Universe Concept offers outstanding refinements, it continues to have the simple assets that have long made Volvo the champion when it comes to the uncomplicated.
The trend has been that there is increased appreciation from luxury car customers when it comes to a clever mix of technology and design, and this has helped the brand on its success, he continues. The company is more than convinced that this particular brand of luxury has a truly great future, Horbury concludes.
Volvo Car Corporation President and CEO Stefan Jacoby meanwhile shares that the goal has always been to become a brand that could best understand what its customers expect from modern luxury cars. The company, he continues, is excited to learn what Chinese customers, considered as one of the most demanding, feel when it comes to the luxurious concept. After that, the company will then exhibit this design to Europe and the U.S. as a way of bringing to the global market the original goal it had for all of its models, Jacoby relates.