The new Volvo XC90 will be the first model rolling out of the assembly line after the Swedish carmaker was acquired by billionaire Li Shufu's Geely Holding Group Co. Along with unique design features, the vehicle is emphasizing its safety features in an effort to boost sales in worldwide markets.
"I hope that through this product, it will allow Volvo to once again find self-confidence," said Li in an interview held in Hangzhou, China last month. "To find once again, the territory that belonged to Volvo in the 50s and 60s, and to once again possess the market share it ought to possess."
The new XC90 is part of the brand's drive to create "more attractive cars" in order to close the sales gap with three of the biggest premium automakers namely BMW, Daimler AG's Mercedes, and AG's Audi division. Compared to its predecessor, the new car will be equipped with a more vertical grille. Moreover, it is said to have headlamps and embedded indicator lights in its hammer-shaped fixtures as inspired by Thor. Other features include 400 horsepower and the option to have an electric motor add-on.
Apart from the car's unique design concept, it will also have the crash-avoidance technology which is geared at eliminating car-crash fatalities by the year 2020. Its safety features would include anti-straying from the SUV's lane, automatic tightening of seat belts when the car leaves the road, and enhanced road intersection safety system which allows the car to sense the distance and speed of other cars upon reaching the intersection.
According to Andreas Bauer, co-manager of the Munich-based Autohaus am Goetheplatz dealership, drivers tend to look at all of the vehicle's aspects when purchasing a Volvo. "The most important thing is that the design of the car appeal to the customers," said Bauer. "People won't buy the car for its safety features if they don't like it aesthetically."
In 2007, Volvo's sales reached 458,000 sold autos worldwide. In 2004, it had its biggest slice in the U.S. when it reached as much as 0.8 percent as compared with the current record of 0.3 percent. Moreover, the brand had a little less than two percent of the European market during the past three years.
The new Volvo XC90 is launching on August 26 and will be a make or break for the company which hopes to reverse the declining U.S. sales. The price, which is hinted to reach up to 100,000 euros, will hopefully convince customers that they're purchasing more than just a functional family car which the brand had been associated with.
"Prices will be the same level as competitors like the Germans," said Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo CEO. "Customers should not expect to buy them cheaper than an Audi."