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.