It's ambitious, but Volvo is spending money on core products built on qualities that have made the brand successful in the past.

Just how much does it take to revive an iconic premium brand? How does $11 billion sound? That's what Volvo's Chinese owners are spending to give the Swedish company one more shot to make it as a global carmaker.

It's a make-or-break proposition. Volvo must get it right, as even deep-pocketed parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding Corp. has limits. The money will fund a product blitz with fresh yet authentic Swedish design, improved technology, new engines and, as always, a focus on safety. It's ambitious, but Volvo is spending money on core products built on qualities that have made the brand successful in the past.

The 2015 XC90 will be the first vehicle to roll off the assembly line as a result of these efforts. As our Noah Joseph reported from the reveal in Sweden this week, the crossover embodies all of Volvo's aspirations. It's based on the company's Scalable Product Architecture that will be used for all of the company's models in North America. It draws power from the Drive-E engine series, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 316 horsepower thanks to turbocharging and supercharging, and a plug-in hybrid variant that also uses both forced-induction systems to pump out 400 hp.
Volvo XC90
Volvo XC90Volvo XC90

"It remains to be seen whether consumers respond well to the brand's new direction." – Ian Fletcher

"There is no denying that this is an exceptionally important vehicle for Volvo," Ian Fletcher, an analyst with IHS Automotive, wrote in a research note. "It also underlines the future expectations of the brand by management and its owner."

The XC90 begins its rollout in September, when Volvo starts taking orders for the First Edition, which will be limited to 1,927 units in recognition of Volvo's founding 87 years ago. The XC90 is also the first vehicle developed independently since Volvo was sold by Ford to Geely in 2010.

IHS projects Volvo will sell about 65,000 copies of the XC90 worldwide, with most of the sales in China. Fletcher said the XC90 likely won't match the sales figures of its predecessors in North America due to increased competition from brands like Lexus and Cadillac, as well as traditional stalwarts BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

"It remains to be seen whether consumers respond well to the brand's new direction," Fletcher said. "If it is successful, it could bode well for its further new launches in the future."

Volvo is expecting sales to increase five percent globally this year, as some of its existing models – which have been refreshed – gain traction in the marketplace. For a more significant leap, the XC90 and its upcoming siblings, will have to be winners.


Other News And Views

2015 Ford Mustang 2015 Ford Mustang production begins

Finally! The latest generation of the iconic pony car is here. The factory is humming, and cars will arrive in dealerships later this year. But here's something you might not know: The Mustang is the only pony car from the Detroit Three assembled in the United States. The Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro are built near Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The 'Stang, meanwhile, has rolled off the line at Flat Rock, MI, since 2004. Ironically, the site opened in 1987 as a Mazda factory. In today's global economy, most industry observers will dismiss all of this as trivia, which it is. Still, it's interesting.

Elon Musk newspaper ad Elon Musk responds to newspaper ad about Model S

It's kind of cool the billionaire captain of industry would respond to two customers, who took out an advertisement in Palo Alto, CA, newspapers to voice suggestions for improving the Tesla Model S. The couple asked to Musk – whom they addressed as "automotive visionary" – to add things like blind-spot detection, a redesigned sun visor (picky, eh?) and to move the cup holder forward.

Musk, naturally, tweeted his response, and said many of the ideas will be implemented. Interestingly, the couple also asked Musk to advertise more to raise Tesla's visibility.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Duran Duran The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will be revealed September 3rd

Enthusiasts have had it good the last 20 months or so. There's been the seventh-generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, the sixth-generation 2015 Ford Mustang, two Hellcats from Dodge, and now a new Miata. Obviously, they're all vastly different cars, but it's definitely shaping up to be a golden age of sheetmetal.

As a refresher, we know the new Miata will be lighter, perhaps 220 pounds or more, thanks to a new chassis, and have driving dynamics that hark back to its first-generation. Speaking of the first gen-Miata, Mazda is celebrating 25 years since the introduction of the sports car, and another icon of the 1980s, Duran Duran, will help with the debut of the 2016 model next week.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      ken
      • 3 Months Ago

      I love how Volvo designers avoid the growing trend of unnecessary chrome and body holes. It looks so clean in comparison of its German rivals. 

      ex-ford
      • 3 Months Ago

      If the new XC90 is any indication where Volvo is headed, then it will be money well spent. I really love the white with sporty wheels.

        dropdeadmonkey
        • 3 Months Ago
        @ex-ford

        hmm, I don't know, this looks a lot like the Merc GL ... I'd have liked a design that's a bit rounder.

      Jetbert
      • 3 Months Ago

      Improve the Dealers customer service.

      ferps
      • 3 Months Ago

      It's amazing how many brands are producing great products now that they are free from the clutches of Ford (Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda).

        John
        • 3 Months Ago
        @ferps

        I don't think it's Ford so much as the inability of lumbering conglomerates to achieve the agility necessary in today's auto market.

      pipetsa
      • 3 Months Ago

      VOLVO IS EXCELLENT  I HAVE XC 90 LOVE IT.

      Car Guy
      • 3 Months Ago

      They have already said their #1 focus is on China.  Don't know how well that will play out for their US operations.  

      chrismcfreely
      • 3 Months Ago

      If i was llooking for a new car,  the new 2.0t v60 would be at the top of my list. 

      Absolutely!
      • 3 Months Ago

      Unfortunately it looks like a badge engineered Chevy  Trailblazer.  The technology and the interior are great. But the styling is Risky-Bland.


        Absolutely!
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Absolutely!

        PS, I own a Volvo V50, with 150,000 miles and love it. (2007 Ford era).


      makinnen
      • 3 Months Ago

      I don't own any Volvo cars, but I like them a lot. For one, their presence in Latin America is hugely unexploited. However, there is strong increase in MB and BMW users all around. Insight?

      yo
      • 3 Months Ago

      love the front end. Side view looks exactly like an old chevy trailblazer

        Laurence Hendrick
        • 3 Months Ago *Edited*
        @yo

        I think if you were to investigate the platform that underpins this car you might find something very similar to a trailblazer....but think FORD, who owned this company before it was sold, and the platform was undoubtedly FORD crossover platform design, with a lot of Volvo marketing-engineering to make it more enchanting.

      SloopJohnB
      • 3 Months Ago

      Price as well as quality is key. Chinese build and components is already two strikes.  First big safety recall is death knell.

        George
        • 3 Months Ago
        @SloopJohnB

        These aren't built in China.  You grasp on this subject is slight at best.

          b.rn
          • 3 Months Ago
          @George

          Not built in China.........yet.

      Ricky Joshi
      • 3 Months Ago

      My dad bought an S60 a few years ago.  It was a beautiful car inside and out but it steered terribly.  The turning radius felt like a truck.  It went back as soon as the lease was done, in spite of a very favorable purchase option.  The Audi A4 my mom had, however less reliable, has been in the family for 8 years now.  At the end of the day customers would love to purchase volvo, and the design direction is great.  But they need to drive well. 

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