The first mainstream vehicle made in China will be arriving at showrooms in the United States next year, in form of long-wheelbase version of Volvo S60 sedan – the S60L. Volvo Car Group chief executive Hakan Samuelsson confirmed that the S60L will arrive in the US "absolutely" 2015. Volvo is now owned by Chinese company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.
The company started output of the S60L at its Chengdu site China in October 2013 and is ramping up to full production capacity of 120,000 vehicles annually. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim said that while the S60L will be a low volume car, its significance shouldn’t overstated since Volvo will it as a litmus paper to determine the real-world quality of a China-built car in the US as well as consumer response.
The S60L boasts of a wheelbase that is 3.2 inches longer than that of the S60, which is built in Sweden. According to Samuelsson, Volvo is importing the S60L from China instead of Sweden due to costs, noting production in the Asian country is less expensive, adding that the Chinese yuan is tied to the US dollar rather than the euro, leading to gives more stability.
While China-built vehicles are already being sold by in the US and Canada by other mainstream carmakers and some small companies, S60L would be the first sold by an established auto group.
Samuelsson remarked that Volvo has already learned some about designing large sedans in China, where wealthy owners prefer to be rear passengers rather than drivers. He said that Volvo's future large vehicles will be designed primarily for the US and China.
What better way to accentuate a car’s sporting nature than to create a design as purposeful and dynamic as that of the new dynamic Volvo S60’s.
According to Volvo Exterior Chief Designer Fedde Talsma, the S60 features a new front design enhancing its road presence. One feature includes the more focused and determined-looking wolf’s eye designed headlamps, which help highlight the new, expressive ‘face’ that the S60 tries to pull off. Also, the horizontal lines at the front and rear were designed to be more emphasized.
These and other details – a wider grille, daylight running lights and a new LED light guide on the taillamps – are what makes up the S60’s squat yet striking appearance. Talsma even remarks that “the car has a beauty that is rooted in the natural world”, with its clean surfaces and contours exuding a Scandinavian aura.
Its interior has also received upgrades including new upholstery colors, wood inlays, and headliner as well as silk metal frames that surround the air vents and light controls.
Colour and Trim Design Director Lena Jiseborn says that these upgrades give a warm and cozy feel, like that of a warm Swedish house on a cold night. The color themes turn out very well with the backlit white controls on the dashboard and all other parts of the car.
However, all these design upgrades will never be enough unless the things that make it run are ancient – and so, at the heart of the S60’s dynamic driving experience is a wide selection of chassis settings that will fit any of the customer’s personal requirements. A choice of Touring, Dynamic, Four-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) and Lower Sport Chassis is now available for the Volvo S60 (chassis types that were once made exclusively for the R-Design version).
Connectivity is also in a whole new level for the S60. The Sensus Connected touch is an addition to the car’s HMI (Human Machine Interface) features, Sensu being a term used for all Volvo HMI functionalities. With this, connectivity is enabled inside the car while its 7-inch display is transformed into a state-of-the-art infrared, beam-scanned touch screen which can be used even without removing gloves. The latter is the first of its kind and also very handy during the winter season.