Volvo will not pursue a plan to build a flagship sedan to rival the Mercedes-Benz S class, the Audi A8 or the BMW 7 series since such vehicle will not fill the carmaker’s green image, Volvo chief executive Hakan Samuelsson told Automotive News China at the Shanghai auto show. The carmaker’s top honcho remarked that they have no ambitions to go into a segment where they would compete with vehicles powered by V-8 or V-12 engines, noting that it would not fit Volvo’s brand image.
He added that a flagship sedan is not even a vehicle that Volvo customers would even consider. Rumors about Volvo luxury flagship first went out in 2010 after Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. acquired the carmaker from Ford for $1.5 billion (CHY9.3 billion).
Geely Chairman Li Shufu then suggested that Volvo should compete directly with BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Stefan Jacoby, Volvo’s CEO at the time, asserted that a luxury sedan wouldn't fit Volvo's image.
Although Jacoby has departed from Volvo, his successor likewise has no plans to transform the carmaker into a luxury brand.
According to Samuelsson, he will proceed with his plan to use Volvo's new SPA platform to underpin the redesigned XC90 and develop a replacement for the S80 sedan.
Volvo and Geely also are jointly developing a platform for a family of compact cars, which is China’s largest market segment. The first fruit of Volvo and Geely’s hard labor was recently unveiled at the Shanghai auto show – the five-door Volvo V40 hatchback.
Volvo will roll out the V40 in China later this year after launching it in Europe in 2012. Samuelsson says he is proceeding with plans to commence Volvo production this year in a Geely assembly plant in Chengdu, China.
He, however, acknowledged that he has yet to secure final approval from the Chinese government but expressed confidence of receiving the go-signal. Samuelsson likewise plans to have 250 Volvo stores in China over the next few years, up from the current 150.