ESTEPONA, Spain – Volvo won’t sell 100,000 vehicles in the U.S. as projected this year, but the company remains committed to reaching that goal once all of its models roll out on all-new platforms in the coming two years, executives say.
The Swedish brand’s U.S. deliveries last year cracked the 70,000-unit mark for the first time since 2008 and U.S. sales are up 20% through May this year, according to WardsAuto data. U.S. sales this year will top 84,000 if that momentum continues.
The company has posted growth in excess of 10% per month for the past 10 months, mostly on the strength of its award-winning XC90 large CUV as well as its smaller XC60 CUV, says Anders Robertson, product manager-90 Series cars.
Volvo plans to nurture that growth with the addition of the all-new S90 sedan to the lineup this month. Robertson projects annual sales of about 15,000 units for the new 4-door. The S90 will be followed next year by the V90 Cross Country and V90 wagon variants as well as the XC40 CUV and V40 wagon. Sales of V90 models are projected at about 5,000 units annually in the U.S.
Robertson says the S90 is expected to claim 5% of the luxury-sedan segment, conquesting the Acura RLX, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Infiniti Q70, Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans. Some 150,000 premium-sedan leases expire this year in the U.S., he says, providing ample opportunities for the S90.
If XC90 sales are any indication, S90 volume should strengthen in 2017 when the powerful T8 gasoline-electric hybrid model arrives. Peter Mertens, senior vice president-R&D, says T8 sales represent about 20% of XC90 volume, far exceeding the company’s original projection the T8 would be about 10% of the XC90 mix.
Since 2010 when Volvo was purchased from Ford by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely, the Swedish company has seen substantial investment in two new vehicle architectures, the Scalable Platform Architecture for larger vehicles such as the XC90, S90/V90 and S60, and the Compact Modular Architecture underpinning smaller models such as the XC40 and V40 models. An S40 sedan is not in the product plan.
The front-wheel-drive 40-Series vehicles feature Volvo’s new 1.5L 3-cyl. turbocharged gasoline engine that also will be offered as a plug-in hybrid.
Volvo plans to begin production of its next-generation S60 sedan at its new plant in Ridgeville, SC, when plant construction is completed in late 2018. Battery-electric vehicles based on the CMA and SPA platforms are due in 2019.
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