Understatement: New Volvo XC90 Needs To Sell Well
Unless the beautiful details that have been gradually released over the last few months add up to less than the sum of our parts, it appears as though the second-generation Volvo XC90 will be an impressive machine on which to lay eyes.
The XC90 mostly went along without updates, and year after year after year, sales declined. From that 39,230-unit peak in 2004, XC90 sales fell below 19,000 units in 2008, below 10,000 units in 2012. After averaging 35,000 annual U.S. sales between 2003 and 2007 – a normal product lifecycle after which other automakers would have debuted a new version – XC90 volume averaged 11,000 annual units between 2008 and 2013.
Naturally, this has had a huge impact on the brand’s fortunes in the United States, particularly since the brand has killed off numerous products and failed to market others on this side of the Atlantic. The XC90 represented 28% of the 139,384 Volvos sold in America in 2004, 18% of the 61,433 company’s 2009 sales, 11% of Volvo’s 2013 volume, and just 9% of the 34,224 vehicles Volvo has sold through the first seven months of 2014.
The Volvo V60 wasn’t going to rescue Volvo in North America. Indeed, that fresh new wagon only sells about as often as the grey-haired SUV. Bringing back the quirky C30 wouldn’t heal the brand. Ripping up the C70’s execution order won’t do the trick. Importing the V40, though useful, would not turn Volvo from a brand that sold 61,233 vehicles in 2013 back into a brand which sold 139,384 vehicles in 2004. If Volvo has a future in North America, it will be as a direct result of the XC90’s successful launch.
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