By on May 18, 2016

Volvo Concept 40.1 profile

Two concepts just revealed by Volvo shows where the brand’s 40 Series vehicles are headed.

The imaginatively-named Concept 40.1 and 40.2 were the centerpieces at today’s launch of Volvo’s global small car strategy. The growth-primed automaker plans to hit the premium small car market with a series of vehicles built around its Compact Modular Architecture.

Is there a Swede in your future?

Larger vehicles like the upcoming S90 and wildly popular XC90 already have the “understated elegance” thing covered. So, the automaker once known for making really reliable boxes chose a funkier look for its bottom rung offerings.

A sporty sedan is a must-have model, but a just-edgy-enough compact crossover opens the door to a very lucrative market.

The versatile CMA platform allowed designers and engineers to go in “bold and daring new directions,” Volvo claims. It also makes it easy to offer a variety of powertrains, including a full battery electric vehicle and plug-in hybrids.

“By taking a modular approach to both vehicle architecture and powertrain development we have succeeded in leap-frogging many of the players in the premium segment,” said Dr Peter Mertens, senior vice-president of research and development, in a statement.

Every propulsion type will be offered by the time the 40 Series lineup fills out. The first model starts production in 2017, with an EV due by 2019.

Volvo plans to offer its T5 Twin Engine drivetrain in 40 Series models. That setup sees a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and electric motor work together through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Naturally, a ridiculous amount of connectivity and safety features are planned for the lineup.

With a sales turnaround already underway, the automaker plans to offload 800,000 vehicles annually in the medium term. Last year’s sales figures sat just above the half-million mark.

[Images: Volvo Car Corporation]

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20 Comments on “The Mod(ular) Squad: Volvo Drops Concepts, Plans to Storm the Small Car Beaches...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I like them all, as well as the drivetrain options.

    I especially like the sedan; it reminds me of the IDx concept that Nissan killed off.

    In spite of my criticisms of Volvo lately, if they can pull this off without stratospheric pricing, I’d consider one.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’ve liked Volvo’s styling language since the early 2000s and the new XC90 and S90 are just dynamite to look at, so if Volvo wants to put more models on the road I say go for it.

  • avatar

    Sci-Fi movie director approved

  • avatar

    I like both, but am so over the thick C-pillar in the CUV. Makes backing out of parking spaces a pain, and a camera doesn’t help.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup, we have long since reached peak C-Pillar.

      • 0 avatar

        Next thing you know we’ll see the revival of the “opera window” in those wide C-pillars, like on old GM and Ford products from the 1970s.

    • 0 avatar

      well…we were discussing this sorta in a previous story concerning India.
      And the gov was being praised for the safety of today’s cars.
      Not the Mfrs…the government.
      So, I guess we gotta give the thick C design to the gov regulators and their wisdom of having the roof support the vehicle if dropped onto its roof from a passing airplane.

      However…once again we can get down on our knees and thank the almighty gov for the rear back up cameras.
      Unlike your experience, mine has a very wide view. I can easily see approaching cars far off a parking lot pathway.
      Not all cams are created equal…since the almighty gov has not seen fit to make it so.
      My car mfr must be out line by doing such on its own.

      Now if the government could just regulate stupid humans away…and kill off anybody who follows their navigation directions into the lake.

      • 0 avatar

        Great job turning a story about Volvo’s new midsized concepts into another anti-government diatribe.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle


        Are you arguing that there is both too much, and not enough government regulation of car safety?

        Too much: “we can (…) thank the almighty gov for the rear back up cameras”

        Not enough: “Not all cams are created equal…since the almighty gov has not seen fit to make it so.”

        The backup camera follows the pattern of safety regulations that are implemented after 90% of cars already have them (not in all trim levels, obviously). The fact they they will be mandatory just means that automakers can’t charge you thousands extra for a $5 camera. They wouldn’t be mandatory if people weren’t buying them in the first place.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, this looks more like an XC40 than an S40 or V40.

  • avatar

    These both look like attractive and practical vehicles. Hopefully they will not be:

    a) underpowered,

    b) ludicrously expensive


    c) FWD only.

    Both drivetrain renderings appear to be FWD.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Volvo’s been using transverse powertrains with optional AWD for some time, at least 20 years. But because the company has now committed to four-cylinder-or-fewer engines, its cars are able to have shorter overhangs and proportions that are more in line with a longitude-engined, RWD car. And, in the words of Alex Dykes, the new XC90 dances like an X5. I think that if anybody can make well-balanced cars with transverse powertrains, it’s Volvo.

      • 0 avatar

        I want to wait and see on the XC90 the sort of reliability and trim fidelity we get into. I consider the XC90 the first of “new Volvo (China)” after Ford Volvo. Want to know if things turn out differently.

  • avatar

    They need to bring back their world renowned, bulletproof reliability, otherwise…….

  • avatar

    Will they all be manufactured in China, or somewhere in Europe?
    Kudos for Volvo for reinventing themselves and not just dying an excruciating death.

  • avatar

    Im not really interested in over teched Nissans.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I do love a turbocharged Swedish hatchback. Let’s hope they sell a version with 300 HP and front wheel drive (and a manual…).

    The crossover looks way too much like an Evoque.

  • avatar

    >>Is there a Swede in your future?<<

    Is a Chinese company Swedish? And if not now, when?

    In an aside I noticed recent articles about how American Cos like Apple are becoming less welcome in China now that the Chinese have transferred tech to indigenous cos. Apple sales in China are tanking as people switch to cheaper products from these indigenous cos.

    I suspect the same will happen to auto cos – at some point the Chinese market will turn away from foreign makes – and that GM's Chinese Buick adventure will be looked back upon as as a huge mistake.

    *Unless importing Chinese Buicks to the USA is considered desirable to those outside of GM interests.

  • avatar

    Suddenly it’s 1971 again!

    “ Volvo!”


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