Volvo cars have always had a reputation for solid dependability but not much has been happening recently at the Swedish manufacturers base in Gothenburg. This may be due to the shaky nature of the motor industry just now and Volvo being in a state of flux of ownership over the last decade. Now thanks to the recently new owners from China – the Geely Holding Group – things are beginning to move forward and the future of the brand looks promising.
The impression is that Volvo have to a certain extent been left behind by other manufacturers and it looks like they’re getting a bit fed up about it. For example, they presumably reckon that BMW have been having to much of a share of the medium hatchback sector lately and as a consequence launched the highly successful V40 as an answer. This is possibly the safest car on the road today.
Not content to rest on their laurels the company announced at this year’s Detroit Motor Show that they have significant plans for their entire model range. The latest scheme is to revamp eight of the current range of models and to introduce a replacement for the highly regarded but ageing XC90 in 2014. Apparently, this new large 4×4 will use Volvo’s ‘scalable platform architecture’ which, in keeping with other car makers, is their cost effective solution to various models sharing the same base platform.
This move forward is no doubt prompted by a 6.1% drop in sales last year. This doesn’t reflect on the products so much as the current economic woes that all car makers are feeling. Volvo plan to turn this figure around by overhauling the entire range. The S60/V60/V70 models will all be stylistically revamped this year. They will also feature a range of new engines, an area where a lot of the company’s R&D money has been wisely invested.
The plan is that the whole line-up of power plants will consist of four cylinder units. Combined with the latest engine, hybrid and electric technology this has resulted in improved fuel economy and performance. Despite the fact that electric cars haven’t exactly caught the public’s attention, hybrids certainly have. Volvo sold all of the first one thousand V60 plug-in hybrids and as a consequence are stepping up production to six thousand units by 2014.
Last year the XC60 SUV was the company’s best selling car. With these new improvements and the introduction of the excellent V40, Volvo should be firmly back in the minds of paying customers as a brand that is not only safe and dependable but also modern and technologically bang up to date.