Volvo has been back from the dead more than once. Its current resurrection may happen under new parent Zhejiang Geely Holding. The Swedish car company has a long way to go, particularly in the United States, where it sells only several thousand cars a year. Volvo hopes that will change with the launch of its new XC90. The problem is that the new vehicle is only one among a large line of sedans, coupes and crossovers that Volvo would need to steal sales from competition.
According to the manufacturer:
Volvo’s all-new XC90 — which will be launched in two weeks’ time in Stockholm — will be the first car in its range to be built on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) modular chassis technology developed in-house.
SPA has been under in-house development at Volvo for the past four years and is the cornerstone of the company’s ongoing USD 11bn transformation plan. It will be introduced with the all-new XC90 and then rolled out across the product range in future.
The benefits of SPA are twofold. First, the flexibility of SPA liberates Volvo’s engineers and designers, allowing them to devise and introduce a wide range of new and alluring design features at the same time as improving driveability, introducing world-first safety features, offering the latest connected car technologies and creating more interior space.
Scalable Product Architecture likely is not much different from the ultra-modern car manufacturing systems used by the world’s most advanced auto companies, especially those with massive product development and plant facilities.
Nevertheless, Volvo believes it can compete with these world-class car makers. Geely and Volvo management say the XC90, which will be priced in the $65,000 to $125,000 range, can compete with BMW and Audi cars with similar configurations.
In terms of entering the U.S. market, Volvo is bound to find it rough going. Larger companies, in particular Fiat and Volkswagen, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to attract American buyers, only find incumbent companies from the United States, Germany, South Korea and Japan have the market locked up. Volvo’s single new model will not be near enough to break that choke hold.