Now That the XC40's a Hit, Volvo Wants More Small Cars

now that the xc40s a hit volvo wants more small cars

Volvo, back from near death and feeling pretty pleased with itself, wants to capitalize on the modular platform found beneath the XC40 compact crossover. With 80,000 orders for the new-for-2018 ‘ute under its belt, the Chinese-owned Swede plans to spawn more models and reassert itself in the small car space.

On Thursday, the company said it would throttle up production of the XC40 at its Belgian assembly plant, which will soon boast quite a bit of usable space. The S60 sedan’s headed to South Carolina later this year. Meanwhile, the V60 wagon sibling will move most of its production to a Swedish plant.

What does this mean for the United States? Perhaps more than you’d expect.

We’ll definitely see the new S60, which Volvo wants to appeal to sporty, youthful buyers, but it’s difficult to see any real hope of a small passenger car coup in the American marketplace. It’s no longer a space many automakers are interested in fighting for. Still, the automaker, which said two years ago that the 40-series cars would certainly arrive on these shores, hasn’t publicly backtracked. Volvo trademarked the C40 name in the U.S. in 2015 and the V40 name in 2016.

A Volvo spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe that the company would replace the current, overseas-only V40 with a “range” of small models based on the XC40’s Compact Modular Architecture. These models would not be hatchbacks, she said, without going into detail.

The first XC40s trickled onto U.S. sales charts in February. Last month, Volvo sold 1,404 of them in the states, making it the brand’s third-best selling model after the XC90 and new XC60 crossovers.

“The XC40’s success has surpassed even our highest expectations,” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a recent media release.

Volvo has said that its CMA architecture can be easily shortened, paving the way for a smaller class of subcompact vehicles that more or less match the current C-segment’s width. It also seems pretty protective of its future model names. In the past couple of years, the automaker has filed U.S. trademark applications for the names V20, V30, S50, XC10, XC20, XC30, and XC50.

While a trademark is no guarantee of U.S. sales availability, a subcompact CMA crossover seems like a likely — and necessary — addition to its American lineup. While it pales in comparison to the kind of volume seen in the compact segment, it’s crowded enough to be worthwhile.

Besides the 40-series cars, Volvo is readying an all-electric model for a 2019 debut. This vehicle will apparently launch as a standalone model.

[Image: Volvo Cars]

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  • Maxb49 Maxb49 on May 25, 2018

    Jeeze, who would have thought that a diversified portfolio minimizes your risk exposure?

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on May 27, 2018

    To my surprise, the XC40 is now on my list of cars to check out. Alex Dykes' review was very positive, and the prices aren't terrible. But I think I'd prefer the electric version, although it won't be cheaper.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.