Volvo is looking to gain a foothold in the fast-growing Chinese auto market, and the Swedish automaker is hoping to pique interest in the brand with a range-topping luxury sedan concept. The design aims to incorporate the simplicity of Scandinavian design while also trying to discern what the modern luxury car buyer really wants.
The Concept Universe bows at the Shanghai Motor Show to show what Volvo can do near the top-end of the large luxury sedan market. And although this vehicle is definitely a design study, Volvo doesn't seem interested in hiding its intention of going upscale. Volvo CEO Stafan Jacoby calls the concept "a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan."
The large concept features a coupe-like roofline that combines with a modern interpretation of the boxy Volvos of the past. Another homage to older Volvo models includes convex style lines between the wheel wells. Up front, the Concept Universe appears to borrow some lines from the Ford Interceptor concept from the 2007 Detroit Auto Show with its bumper-less front end that is rounded off all around. The grille is totally new for Volvo, with a series of shrinking, rounded rectangles; each smaller than the next.
Volvo design boss Peter Horbury feels the vehicle looks hand-crafted and durable, adding, "We will compete with the best with our special kind of Scandinavian Design. It is unmatched in performance and technology, but without superficiality or complication."
We're not so sure what to think of the Concept Universe, but we're sure you'll tell us what you think in the Comments below. Hit the jump to read over the Volvo press release.
A luxury Volvo for China and the world
At the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2011, Volvo Car Corporation visualises a masterpiece of Scandinavian Design for car buyers with exquisite tastes.
The Concept Universe is a large, luxurious sedan with a new human-centric design language that honours the beautiful lines of classic Volvo models.
"The Concept Universe offers the world a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo Car Corporation's long-term strategy is to be a successful, truly global company with products designed around our customers' needs and lifestyle.
Scandinavian Design is about understanding and caring about people. Volvo Car Corporation aims to be the brand that best interprets what buyers of modern luxury cars want.
The Concept Universe has been designed to spark a subconscious desire and a feeling of eternal beauty.
It moves towards the future with its coupe-like roofline and contemporary, solid rear, but it also echoes Volvo's proud heritage by borrowing design cues from classic models of the past.
"Just like fine luxury goods, this design feels handcrafted and durable enough to stand the test of time," says Peter Horbury, Vice President Design at Volvo Car Corporation. "We will compete with the best with our special kind of Scandinavian Design. It is unmatched in performance and technology, but without superficiality or complication."
User-focused and pure
The interior of the Concept Universe is a comfortable, cultivated environment that is also user-focused and refreshingly uncomplicated. It is driver-orientated in the front and comfortably relaxed in the rear.
The in-command driver environment has intuitive controls and a touch-screen that approaches the hand when the driver reaches towards it - with everything operated from a seat that is inspired by ultra-comfortable chairs.
Passengers in the rear seat are embraced by pure comfort. The interior moulds into the rear seat and becomes part of the seating environment.
The dynamic feel and the dark colour scheme of the front seats fades seamlessly towards the rear until it fully transforms into a light rear seat haven of calmness. Concept Universe is full of classic forms, materials and textures, used with a twist to create a special contemporary luxury experience.
"The Concept Universe is exceptionally refined, yet with all the simplistic assets that make Volvo champions of the uncomplicated. There is a growing appreciation for this ingenious blend of design and technology among modern luxury car buyers. This trend paves the way for our success. We are convinced that our special brand of luxury has a great future," Peter Horbury concludes.
"Our aim is to be the brand that best understands what buyers of modern luxury cars want. We are eager to hear what the most demanding Chinese customers think of this luxurious concept. Later, we will show the design in Europe and the United States in order to bring it into the global context that we are aiming for with all our car models," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.