A Volvo XC90 with V8 power under the bonnet not only puts added performance on the tarmac – it also sharpens Volvo’s competitive edge in the tough SUV segment.
In the USA, about 30 percent of all SUVs sold in the premium segment have V8 engines.
This means that five- and six-cylinder versions of the Volvo XC90 have thus far only exploited 70 percent of the market potential – yet still achieved a resounding success.
The 30 percent gap has now been covered.
“Our V8 package feels immensely solid. When it comes to power and performance, we’re in the same class as the very best in the segment. What’s more, we’re sure that a large proportion of these customers will appreciate the fact that the power and driveability can be combined with high safety and good environmental properties. It’s important that we can launch a V8 without compromising on our core values,” says Volvo Cars President and CEO Hans-Olov Olsson.
Powertrain with compact V8 and technological breakthrough
Most of the attraction behind the new Volvo XC90 V8 lies in the powertrain, that is to say the engine in combination with a compact new six-speed automatic transmission and the world’s first system for All Wheel Drive with Instant Traction, which gives enhanced grip on poor surfaces.
Thanks to intelligent engineering, the engine is the most compact on the market – making it possible to install the new engine transversely within the existing crumple zones.
From the environmental viewpoint, this is the first launch of a petrol V8 that meets the American ULEV II vehicle emissions standard.
Spotlight on driving characteristics and performance
The excellent safety and environmental properties add a healthy measure of extra spice to a V8 market where buyers often base their choices on emotional arguments such as driving pleasure, power – and even engine sound.
In the world of V8 development, engine sound is a science in its own right. A traditional American V8 has a throaty offbeat growl, while Europeans favour a slightly smoother, sportier rumble.
“Our V8 has what it takes to attract American buyers. That classical V8 throb is there, but it’s overlaid with a more sophisticated touch that clearly announces that this is a European premium SUV,” explains Hans-Olov Olsson.
Three-quarters to North America
Volvo Cars plans to sell 15,000 Volvo XC90 V8s a year, with 75 percent of total production going to North America.
The USA is without comparison the largest V8 market, followed by Canada and Mexico. Germany takes fourth place and Japan comes in fifth.
Sales will start in the USA in early 2005, after which the Volvo XC90 V8 will be introduced gradually on other markets.
Award-winning sales success
The Volvo XC90 has been an enormous sales success for Volvo Cars. The original production volume of 50,000 cars a year has been successively increased, and since spring 2004 annual XC90 production in the company’s Torslanda factory in Sweden has been raised to 90,000.
What is more, the Volvo XC90 has received more international awards in a shorter period of time than any other Volvo.
“When we introduced the Volvo XC90, we claimed that we were the first manufacturer with the next-generation SUV. Now we know that our customers share that view. The combination of a compact SUV with up to seven seats, a high level of safety, the driving properties of a passenger-car, and competitive environmental properties, has helped make the Volvo XC90 one of the automotive world’s most highly acclaimed models,” says Hans-Olov Olsson.
The Volvo XC90 V8 will be offered only in left hand drive version.
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