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Volvo prioritises S-Class rival

2010-08-05 06:26
After months of speculation, negotiations between Ford and Geely finally concluded in the sale of Volvo to the Chinese concern this week.

Volvo’s new boss is Stefan Jacoby, who has been set the rather ambitious target of doubling the company’s sales to 600 000 units annually by his new Chinese partners.

Whilst Jacoby busies himself with formulating a strategy to achieve this increase, Volvo’s new chairman Li Shufu has been making (very) bold predictions concerning the brand’s future product portfolio.

Shufu believes Volvo urgently needs to compete at the very top of the premium segment and would like to a see a Gothenburg rival to the likes of Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class and BMW’s 7 Series as soon as possible.

Volvo currently lacks the long-wheel base rear-wheel drive architecture to underpin such a car. During its time as part of Ford’s premier automotive group (PAG) there was a fear that long-wheel base Volvos would cannibalise Jaguar sales, which was a PAG co-brand until two years ago.

Although the idea of a limousine-sized Volvo may appear preposterous to some, it is worth noting that many premium manufacturers (notably Audi) produce long-wheel base derivatives especially for the burgeoning Chinese luxury car market.

Perhaps Li Shufu is carefully calculating, instead of gambling, with Volvo’s future.

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