NEW FRONTIER: Volvo unveiled a trio of new compact cars dubbed the '40 Series'. Due in 2017, the range will feature a crossover, sedan, hatchback and an all-electric model. Image: Quickpic
Stockholm - Volvo Cars has unveiled two new concept cars which move the Swedish brand in an audacious new direction and marks the official launch of its global small car strategy.
The Swedish automaker says the newly-revealed 40 series concepts demonstrate for the first time how Volvo plans to tackle rivals Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz with a range of vehicles that combine bold exterior and interior design with connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving technologies.
The new concept cars will be the first Volvos built on the company's new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which has been specifically created for smaller cars.
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Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design, at Volvo Car Group said: "Each member of our product family has its own distinct character, just like the members of a real family. CMA has helped us to capture something special, something youthful in our new concept cars. They have an energy, a disruptive and engaging urban character that makes them stand out amongst the crowd. This is the flavour of small Volvos to come."
Volvo's small car strategy is an essential element in its ongoing global operational and financial transformation. The Swedish company is currently implementing an ambitious revitalisation plan that will reposition the brand to compete with its global premium competitors within the next four years.
1-million electric cars
Volvo's new global small car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as Twin Engine plug-in hybrid variants, in line with the company's commitment to the electrification of its entire portfolio. Volvo plans to have sold a total of one million electrified cars by 2025 globally.
Dr Peter Mertens, senior vice-president, Research & Development, said: "By taking a modular approach to both vehicle architecture and powertrain development we have succeeded in leap-frogging many other players in the premium segment," says "Our new battery electric variant opens yet another exciting chapter in the unfolding Volvo story."
On top of their daring exterior design and electrified powertrain options, the new cars will also offer a full range of innovative connectivity services, plus the world's most advanced standard package of safety features and ground-breaking Scandinavian interior design.
2017 production plan
Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive, said: "The new 40-series cars have the potential to improve our market penetration in an important growing segment.
"An electric powertrain programme including both a new compact Twin Engine plug-in hybrid as well as a pure electric car are central to the CMA architecture."
He adds that the first new 40-series car is expected to go into production in 2017.
The announcement of Volvo's new global small car strategy comes on the back of a strong start to 2016 in terms of sales and profitability.
The company announced that revenues for the first three months of the year rose 24% year-on-year to about R76.8bn, generating an operating profit of R5.7bn and an operating profit margin of 7.5%.
Global sales for the first quarter of 2016 increased 11.9% to 120 591 cars. Volvo has a medium term ambition to sell 800 000 cars per year, the goal already on track after 2015 sales totalled 503 000 units.