By on April 19, 2017

volvo emblem logo grille

With the stately S90 sedan and V90 wagon out of the way, Volvo’s main focus falls on the upcoming S40 and XC40 compact sedan and crossover. In the middle ground, the Swedish automaker has already unveiled the handsomely redesigned 2018 XC60.

Will it stop there? Not according to Volvo Car USA’s president and CEO. 

Speaking to Car & Driver about the brand’s naming process, Lex Kerssemakers mentioned the Volvo range won’t use the 40-series as a basement.

“It’s pretty straightforward: The 90 is the biggest, and the 40 is the smallest,” Kerssemakers said. “And when there is a 20, it will be a smaller one.”

This is the first time anyone has mentioned a potential upcoming subcompact from the automaker. As Volvo only builds vehicles for global markets, it’s a near-certainty the U.S. would see at least one vehicle from the 20-series range. If the range includes a hatchback and a small crossover, it’s the latter that could prove the most competitive.

Buyers have taken a shine to very small utility vehicles, and the segment represents an untapped area of growth for the resurgent Volvo. In the premium field, Mercedes-Benz already fields its GLA, while BMW has the X1. Downmarket options include the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and new Toyota C-HR, along with the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax/Buick Encore.

There’s probably room for Volvo at the table.

“Growth has tapered off sharply in early 2017, which is to be expected,” said TTAC sales analyst Tim Cain of the subcompact utility market. “There are no new variants being added, the kinds of vehicles that kept causing the segment to grow with a new Honda HR-V here and a new Jeep Renegade there. Subcompact crossovers accounted for 7.4 percent of the SUV/CUV market in the first quarter of 2017, on par with their market share a year ago.”

As it seeks volume (and profit) growth, Kerssemakers said that Volvo’s focus remains on “bread-and-butter” models. Coupes and convertibles — for the time being, anyway— aren’t of much interest to the automaker, he added.

[Image: Volvo]

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13 Comments on “Tiny Swedes: Volvo Won’t Ignore the Subcompact Segment, Hints U.S. Chief...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Wow, a brand with ****alphanumeric**** model names that’s doing well.

    But…but…….but…………….I thought no one would ever buy a car with an alphanumeric name…….

    I’m confused.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Well, it looks like they are on track to sell fewer than 50,000 cars in the USA this year. These are the same kind of numbers that supposedly make the Mazda 6 a flop. Only for Volvo, that’s the total volume for their entire car line.

      • 0 avatar
        Tostik

        Yes, Volvo said 1st qtr sales would drop because of production problems. But Volvo said sales would return to growth in the 2nd qtr, and guess what? They have! In April sales grew by 15.4%, and May sales are up 12%. And the new XC60 doesn’t even go on sale til August.

  • avatar
    RHD

    After the S20 and the V20, Volvo will design a S6.6 and V6.6 for the Japanese Kei car market… The V6.6XC will be for aspirational wilderness explorers with very small parking places.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      I realize there’s a certain amount of tongue in your cheek, but I don’t see the Kei market supporting a sedan. If it isn’t a practical hatchback, it’s not going to happen. (Very few sporty or cute coupe exceptions.)

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Right, it’s just taking the downsizing to a humorous extreme. The theoretical V6.6XC would be a miniature Cross Country wagon, naturally.
        The numerical designation refers to 660cc (in a miniature straight-5, of course).

  • avatar
    threeer

    There was always the Volvo (er, DAF) 340…

  • avatar
    phreshone

    You mean the S60/V60 aren’t already down in that category… I don’t think the S90 has yet to beat the old 850/S70 for midsize cabin room…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…the resurgent Volvo”

    Hmm. US sales are down 18% YTD this year.

  • avatar
    never_follow

    Bring back the C30. Awesome little car with the T5.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      +10. I have always regretted not buying a C30. There was an unwanted year-old leftover at my local dealer going for something like 18K. And because Ford had just sold Volvo to the Chinese, I backed off. Silly and stupid on my part.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Same here. If I was in the market for a pre-owned hot hatch instead of a GTI, or Focus ST I’d put the C30 on the top of my list. I see them in the $10-16k range for the T5 or limited edition Polestar.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIandThen....

      I would have got a C30 the first time round too but the efficiency was awful. Maybe this time with a turbo three plus electric under the hood? I’d be in if it got even low thirties mpg combined.


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