Volvo considers building subcompact-sized model to rival Mini, Audi A1

Article by Anita Panait, on August 21, 2012

Volvo mulls building a subcompact-sized vehicle that would compete against BMW's Mini and the Audi A1. But for this to be possible, Volvo needs to acquire a partner to share the costs as well as get a smaller engine, which could be produced in cooperation with parent Zhejiang Geely of China, Volvo chief executive Stefan Jacoby told Automotive News Europe.

According to Jacoby, premium-car buyers are willing to spend extra even for subcompact-sized cars.  Volvo’s top boos quipped that premium customers no longer define luxury based on the size of the car or number of cylinders, adding that there are other attributes that come into play. Sales of subcompact-sized vehicles in Europe rose by 19 percent to 332,262 units in 2011, according to data from market researchers JATO Dynamics.

Segment sales, however, have dwindled, with the six-month total volume dropping 10 percent to 148,891. Volvo has yet to field a vehicle in the subcompact-sized segment, as its smallest model is the compact V40, which rivals Audi A3 and BMW 1 series.

Jacoby, however, is not in a rush to launch a new subcompact-sized model since the V40 just made its debut last month.  As for priorities, Jacoby said that he intends to bring the Scalable Platform Architecture online and to renew Volvo's core ranges, the 60, the 80/90 and the sports utility vehicles. After accomplishing these goals, Jacoby said he would look into diversification, niches, a sportback and smaller cars.

The brand new Volvo V40 is an athletic five-door hatch that provides the latest safety standards, handling and fuel efficiency in its segment.

Its attention-drawing coupé appearance, which gets its design pattern from the C30 coupé and traditional P1800ES Volvo, is more athletic and more elegant than the usual style in the roster.

Extra care has been applied when developing the feel on the wheel, handling, driving comfort and agility. Volvo designers stand by their gut that the Volvo V40 is currently the standard in terms of active fitness.

Volvo did not set aside its integrity for being the leader in providing protective features. An advanced technology, the Pedestrian Airbag Technology, is part of a former Volvo industry-first, Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, which was first seen on the Volvo S60. The two make sure that the brand new V40 gives unparalleled safety for pedestrians, and also for the passengers of the vehicle.

The latest Pedestrian Airbag, which will be launched on the Volvo V40, is released from below the back edge of the bonnet when the vehicle assumes that it has bumped a pedestrian. The bonnet is positioned higher and protects the hit pedestrian, and the airbag keeps the pedestrian's head safe from the rough edges below the windscreen and the A-pillars.

Pedestrians comprise 14% of the total traffic fatalities in Europe. However, in China, it's more than 25%.

City Safety, a modern technology first introduced on the Volvo XC60 to prevent noise-to-tail city accidents, has been more enhanced for the V40. It currently functions at up to 50 km/h (31 mph), compared to 30 km/h (19 mph). Insurance claims connected to the XC60 reveal that City Safety has decreased claims for personal injury to more than 50 percent, and car repair costs have dropped down to more than 20 percent. A few speculate that insurance companies now cut down premium payments for Volvo owners.

Topics: volvo, mini, audi a1

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