• Apr 19th 2011 at 1:25AM
  • 59
Volvo Concept Universe – Click above for high-res image gallery

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.

  • Volvo Concept Universe

[Source: Volvo]
Show full PR text
Volvo Car Corporation presents Concept Universe:

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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Timothy Tibbetts
      • 4 Years Ago
      That front end gives me a headache, reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where you stare at the painting to see a hidden image. Acura made the same mistake, imho but it's still a concept.
      Sue Esponte
      • 4 Years Ago
      ....because Volvo does so well in the US$50K+ pricing segment? How about focusing on improved sales of their current bread and butter cars before moving upmarket where they've always had trouble in the past? Yes, the new S60 is a step in the right direction but it isn't enough. They're also trying to recall too many old design elements. There's a little PV544 in the hood and whole lot of "boxy but good" in the silhouette. Volvo's problem isn't in its designs. The current sedan line-up just doesn't compete with the market...S60 aside, perhaps. The S40 and S80 are decent cars but are generally non-competitive. They need to fix what they have before building something new to fix.
      Craig Pitman
      • 4 Years Ago
      Front = eww.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      i like it but its reminding me of the ford interceptor for some reason.
      • 4 Years Ago
      what where they thinking with that front end!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Interesting and different. The grille does seem odd but then that's what thinking outside the box is all about.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm not a fan of front end, but the rest is very stylish. I wonder if this design change will trickle down the rest of their lines. A side note to the writer/editor: regarding " Another homage to older Volvo models includes convex style lines between the wheel wells." Convex extrudes outward from a surface; I think you were looking for "concave".
      Mark B. Morrow
      • 4 Years Ago
      There's a lot of PV 544 in this concept. From the grille,headlights, hood and front fenders to the "Coupe-like roofline". It is interesting. I like it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      at first i thought i was looking at the jaguar bertone concept. the front is so un-volvo
        • 4 Years Ago
        It looks alot like the Ford Galaxy I think it was or 500 hundred from about ten years ago.
        Ted Krygier
        • 4 Years Ago
        Un-Volvo couldn't be further from the truth. The front end is PURE pre-60's Volvo inspired! http://www.philseed.com/images/volvo-544-1958.jpg
      Firat Akcay
      • 4 Years Ago
      the stick buried to the dash is something new, as innovative as expected from sweed`s...but i`m feeling that the german and sweedish designers have swaped their character`s on the interior. the new 6 looks more sweedish than this.
      Reno Dillard
      • 4 Years Ago
      Too bad Ford sold Volvo. I don't know the size of this car but the basic shape looks like it should be a Lincoln Continental for some reason.
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