Volvo bets on more-premium models to challenge Bmw, Mercedes-Benz

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 27, 2011

The Concept You that was brought to the Frankfurt Auto Show is an example of "a very competitive product in the top-level premium segment," according to Volvo Chairman Li Shufu. Volvo is hoping to reach new heights by releasing models that offer a higher premium and that have a flexible vehicle architecture.

He said that the car that’s a derivative of the concept will probably replace the S80 and would be the automaker’s biggest and most expensive model. It will likely be competing with the BMW 5 series and Mercedes E class when it makes its debut "sometime around 2015."

This car is included in Volvo's $11 billion five-year investment plan to become a serious rival to BMW, Audi and Mercedes's dominance in global premium car sales. Volvo also plans that by the end of the decade, its scalable platform architecture, or SPA, will enable it to double its volume to 800,000.

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby told Automotive News Europe that SPA will enable 80% of Volvo models to roll out on the same production line regardless of vehicle size and complexity.

He also said that Volvo will then be able to share 40% of its parts throughout various different models, which is "significant" for Volvo. However, he declined to give details on Volvo’s current level of parts sharing. The next generation of the 60, 70, 80 and 90 car and SUV lines will be built on the SPA. It’s probable that the S80 successor would be the first car to be underpinned by the SPA architecture.

There is no more need to further reinforce the new Volvo S80 as it is a premium car featuring characteristic Scandinavian design while providing luxurious comfort through its innovative technology, spaciousness and a much refined ride. With its premium attributes, the new Volvo S80 presents itself as a compelling alternative to German luxury cars while further cementing Volvo's leadership position in the areas of quality and safety, as well as environmental care.

Volvo also gave the new Volvo S80 – developed extensively on the roads in the United Kingdom -- with powerful new engines as well as advanced chassis dynamics. Volvo is now offering three new turbodiesel engines – two five-cylinder 2.4 liter (2.4D and D5) and one 1.6 liter diesel (1.6D DRIVe) powerplants -- for the new S80, all more efficient than before.

The 2.4D version provides up to 175PS of output and 420Nm of torque available between 1,500 rpm and 2,750 rpm. This engine allows the new Volvo S8 to accelerate from zero to 60mph in 8.4 seconds. The S80’s D5 engine could deliver up to 205PS of output and 420Nm of torque available between 1,500 rpm and 3,250 rpm. This engine allows the S80 to sprint from nil to 60mph in just 7.5 seconds, or 8.5 seconds when Geartronic is specified.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the 2.4D turbodiesel engine could return up to 60.1 mpg and 47.9 mpg on the extra-urban and combined cycles, respectively, while the D5 could return up to 56.5 mpg and 45.6 mpg on the extra-urban and combined cycles, respectively. On the other hand, the 1.6D DRIVe engine -- a new entry level powerplant – allows the new Volvo S8 to achieve 57.7 miles per gallon of diesel on the combined cycle while emitting just 129 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.

Customers may also have their new Volvo S8 be powered by the high-performance V8 that provides 315PS of output as well as a 2.5T petrol engine that offers up to 231PS. Of course, these changes under the bonnet are accompanied by several exterior design modifications. Now, the new Volvo S8 is lower, longer and wider, but still retains its Scandinavian style and functionality.

Stephen Odell, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars remarked that Volvo is challenging the best in the segment by offering refined Scandinavian luxury through the new S80, which boasts of clean and elegant lines as well as intelligent functionality. The carmaker is expecting all these modifications in power sources, dynamics, styling and safety technology to augment the S80’s sales numbers in the UK, particularly in the corporate sector where new DRIVe models should prove appealing with its low carbon dioxide emissions and remarkable fuel economy.

Topics: volvo, bmw, mercedes-benz

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