The new Volvo XC60 is stepping boldly into what is currently the automotive world's fastest-growing 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 - it's also the most stunning," says Volvo Cars President and CEO Fredrik Arp.
The "Small Premium Utility" segment is growing quickly. Within the next few years, buyers will have at least ten crossover models to choose from. By 2009, this segment is expected to expand by 75 percent to 443,000 units.
"In order to succeed in that kind of competition, you have to create a vehicle that stands out from the crowd," says 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 is City Safety - a unique system that can help the driver avoid or reduce the effects of the type of low-speed impacts that are common in city traffic. If the car is about to strike the vehicle in front and the driver does not react, the car automatically applies the brakes.
"Volvo is the first in the world to offer this type of feature as standard," says Arp. "City Safety clearly signals that the new XC60 is the safest car Volvo has ever produced. The car 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."
Six-cylinder turbo standard
The new XC60 will be available in the U.S. with Volvo's six-cylinder turbocharged T6 engine producing 281 horsepower. All Wheel Drive (AWD) with Instant Traction is fitted as standard on all variants.
"Owing to its compact dimensions - the XC60 is 7.9 inches shorter than the XC70 and lower than the XC90 - it continues our range of slimmed-down car models with high energy efficiency," says Arp.
Volvo's engineers developed the XC60's chassis settings for aggressively sporty handling that promotes a feeling of safety and control. At the same time the suspension has been tuned to provide a smooth and comfortable ride befitting a luxury crossover.
Target buyers tuned in to technology
The XC60 targets a group of customers who impose high demands on design, brand integrity and high-tech content in its choice of lifestyle products. 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 a car, these consumers adopt the same view as they do for other lifecycle products - all of its properties should be integrated into one single attractive and intelligent package.
"One might say that this could be the C30 owner's next car," says Arp. "It's as sporty and exciting, but more capable. This is an all-round car for the person who lives in the city and for the young family taking the kids for a weekend of fun and adventure.
"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."
Europe and North America Sales Targets
The sales target for the new XC60 is 50,000 units per year. Distribution between Europe and North America is uniform: about 40 percent each. The remaining 20 percent is destined for other global markets.
The five largest markets during the peak year 2010 are expected to be the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and China.
"This car has a natural appeal in North America," says 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 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 beginning to mature. Both markets will advance even higher in sales in the future."
The Volvo XC60 will be built at the Volvo Cars factory in Ghent, Belgium. Sales will start in Europe during the fall of 2008, while sales in North America are targeted to begin in early 2009.