The top executive at Volvo Car Corporation says the new Volvo XC60 is stepping boldly into what is currently the automotive world's fastest-growing segment - the small premium crossover segment - dressed in a thrilling blend of muscular XC capability and the sporty charisma of a coupe.
"This is not only the safest Volvo ever. If you ask me, it's also the most stunning. Not a bad combination, is it?" says Volvo Cars President and CEO Fredrik Arp. The new XC60 has its premiere showing at the international car show in Geneva in March, with the first cars reaching retailers in Canada in early 2009. Pricing will be announced at a later date.
The Small Premium Crossover segment is growing quickly. By 2009, this segment is expected to expand by 75 percent to 443,000 units with up to 10 vehicles competing for buyer attention.
"In order to succeed in that kind of competition, you have to stick your chin out and create a car that stands out from the crowd," explains Arp. "The new XC60 bases its unique appeal on the synthesis between daringly sporty design and a range of intelligent safety systems that help the driver avoid accidents."
The big safety news for the XC60 is City Safety - a unique feature that can help the driver avoid or reduce the effects of low-speed impacts that are common in city and stop-and-go traffic. If the XC60's sensors determine that a collision with the vehicle in front is imminent and the driver does not react, the Volvo applies the brakes autonomously in an effort to reduce the severity of the impact.
"We are first manufacturer in the world to offer this type of feature as standard," says Arp. "City Safety clearly advertises that the new XC60 is the safest vehicle Volvo has ever produced. The crossover is packed with our accumulated safety know-how and technology, both when it comes to preventing accidents and protecting all the occupants in a collision."
The new XC60 will have one engine choice in Canada: the six-cylinder turbocharged T6 engine producing 281 horsepower. All Wheel Drive (AWD) with Instant Traction is fitted as standard.
"Owing to its compact dimensions, the XC60 is 20 cm shorter than the XC70 and lower than the XC90 - it continues our range of slimmed-down car models with high energy efficiency," reveals Arp.
The chassis setting is aggressively sporty without losing anything in terms of comfort. Sitting behind the wheel of the new XC60, it becomes clear the vehicle was built to deliver a rewarding driving experience.
Target group with high demands on technology
The XC60 project has its sights set on a target group that imposes high demands on design, brand integrity and high-tech content in its choice of lifestyle products.
Tongue in cheek, one might say that it's all about consumers who've grown up with the microchip as a natural supplement to their breakfast cereal. They're used to the immensely fast pace of development in the world of electronics - and every succeeding birthday has brought with it increased capacity in ever-shrinking gift packages.
When it comes to the choice of vehicle, these consumers adopt the same view as they do for other lifecycle products: all the properties should preferably be integrated into one single attractive and intelligent package.
"One might say that this could be the C30 owner's next vehicle. It's as sporty and exciting, but way more capable. An all-round crossover for the person who lives single in the city and for the young family taking the kids for a weekend of fun and adventure," relates Arp. "We're aiming primarily at lifestyle rather than age. With the XC60 we are broadening our model range to attract even more customers with an active urban lifestyle. Like the Volvo C30, the XC60 plays an important role in our planned volume expansion strategy."
Equal allocation to Europe and North America
The sales target for the new XC60 is over 50,000 cars per year. Distribution between Europe and North America is unusually uniform: about 40 percent each. The remaining 20 percent is destined for the rest of the world. The five largest markets during peak year 2010 will be the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and China.
"This car has a natural appeal in North America," explains Arp. "Here in Europe it is the sporty personality in combination with the compact format that attracts new buyers, primarily women. The XC60 offers a feeling of space even though it is about 20 centimetres shorter than the XC70. The fact that both China and Russia are among the five largest XC60 markets is proof that these growing markets are now beginning to be really large. Both markets will now advance even higher up the sales league in the future."
The Volvo XC60 will be built at the Volvo Cars factory in Ghent, Belgium.
Volvo Cars of Canada Corp. is part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Göteborg, Sweden. The company provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to the 42 Volvo automobile retailers across the country. The company's product range includes the stylish and sporty C30, the elegant C70 hardtop convertible, the compact S40 sedan, the S60 sport sedan, the S80 flagship sedan, the versatile V50 wagon and the award-winning XC90 sport utility vehicle. For 2008, the company is introducing two all-new models: the redesigned V70 wagon and the capable and comfortable XC70.
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