To Date, There Are 13 Volvo V90 Cross Countrys in America for Every Standard Volvo V90
Through the end of September 2017, Americans have registered 13 times more Volvo V90 CCs than Volvo V90s, clarifying with purchasing habits what every auto industry observer, casual or professional, already knew.
Volvo’s surely not surprised, either. After all, if you want to acquire a low-slung Volvo V90, Volvo forces U.S. customers to actually order the car. (Perish the thought.)
Even less surprising is the frequency with which Volvo now sells wagons. Combined, the four V60 and V90 variants account for fewer than one-in-10 Volvo USA sales through the first three-quarters of 2017.
Volvo does, however, offer a small fleet of increasingly popular utility vehicles. In September, with XC90 availability improving and the new XC60 coming on stream, Volvo reported a 51-percent year-over-year uptick in utility vehicle volume, a gain of nearly 1,900 sales.
Volvo’s U.S. car sales were also on the rise in September, though the 21-percent surge on that side of the ledger was caused largely by sedans. S60 sales rose 21 percent. The newer S90 jumped 488 percent to 865 units, the fourth consecutive month above 800 units for the flagship sedan. Even excluding SUVs, wagons still only accounted for fewer than one out of every five Volvo sales.
Volvo’s wagon sales results have fallen dramatically since the first-generation XC90 arrived to fulfill the wishes of modern luxury consumers — wagons produced one-third of Volvo’s U.S. volume in 2002 — but the numbers remain just strong enough for wagons to be a key component of Volvo’s U.S. lineup.
No, from a volume perspective, wagons are all but trivial in the Volvo lineup. Even with recent wagon surges at Volkswagen, only 6 percent of Volkswagen’s September U.S. volume was wagon-derived. (27 percent came down to SUVs/crossovers.)
But wagons foster a level of loyalty among a very demanding buyer demographic of which Volvo doesn’t yet want to give up. Wagons are part of Volvo lore, vital protagonists in Volvo’s anthology, style icons of the future. Volvo without wagons is like Ferrari without V12s, like the Red Wings without Yzerman, birthday cake without icing.
Yes, Volvo needs wagons. Unfortunately, American car buyers don’t very much need Volvo wagons. And of the big Volvo wagons that are finding homes in the United States, almost all of them hide their wagonness with 2.3 extra inches of ground clearance and plenty of wheelarch cladding.
For Volvo’s U.S. operations, the very inclusion of the non-CC V90 in the lineup is basically a sales model experiment. There’s no marketing for the model outside its appearance on Volvo’s website. An ordered car will take three months to arrive, saving the dealers the pain of carrying inventory of an inevitably unpopular model. Building the car online — with dealer-completed transactions, of course — is what Volvo’s outgoing U.S. CEO Lex Kerssemakers calls “a win-win situation.”
It’s such a victorious solution that a grand total of 120 customers have taken Volvo up on the offer so far.
[Images: Volvo Cars]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.
Join the conversation
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Cprescott Yawn.
- 28-Cars-Later Wrangler people are crazy.
- 28-Cars-Later "Transition" to layoffs, this guy is the Bob(s) from Office Space.
- Vap65689119 As a release engineer I also worked in quality, if they are serious they should look at Toyotas business model which has their suppliers as genuine partners, thats how you get a quality product
- Mike-NB2 I seem to have landed in an alternate universe. $12,000 for a Jeep that's going on a quarter-century old and with an automatic transmission? Wow.
As a wagon driver, I'd say that there really is no point to wagons. CUV/SUV gives you cargo space and a few extra inches of ground clearance so from practicality POV there is no sense in buying a wagon at all. If you want a nice driving car then buy a sedan or a coupe which will always handle better than the wagon. The only reason I bought a wagon is to drive something different from most other people, that's it. It sits very low to the ground so it's always nerve wracking to drive it to make sure you don't rip off your bumper on some slightly higher than average speed bump. But it does drive very nice and almost no one has one like mine :)
First it was Infinity with its QX models, now Volvo. Don't they realize those are Nash/Rambler front ends?