• Aug 4th 2010 at 1:31PM
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2011 Volvo S60 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Geely isn't wasting any time in shaping up its newest acquisition's product line. The Chinese automaker officially completed its deal to purchase Volvo from Ford earlier this week, and already the Swedish brand's new chairman is making noises about a new large luxury sedan to go toe to toe with the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Li Shufu, Volvo chairman and co-chair of Geely, said that the brand already competes with luxury German carmakers in most markets, but lacks all of the hardware to do so effectively. To remedy the problem, Li wants to put the rush on a new saloon to take the fight to the Bavarians.

According to the Financial Times, Volvo repeatedly ran into roadblocks when it attempted to develop a large four-door under Ford. Evidently the Blue Oval was concerned about a long-wheelbase Swede nabbing sales from Jaguar – another brand Ford owned at the time. A new Volvo sedan is far from a done deal, though. Li says that the thought of a range-topping sedan is his, and he'll have to convince the company's new board to give it the green light. With an ambitious goal to double Volvo to 600,000 units in five years primarily through growth in large-car loving China, a D-segment player sounds like a good bet – at least for select markets.

[Source: Financial Times – reg. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      this might sound like heresy, but maybe geely buying Volvo might actually be good?
        • 5 Years Ago
        If it takes an up-and-coming Chinese entrepreneur to get Volvo going, I have no problem with that. An all-new uber-sedan is a clear way of setting a new direction, and surely can't hurt to transform stodgy, old Volvo into something a tad more interestng.
        • 5 Years Ago
        On one hand, it's not hard to see that a Chinese market and Chinese owner will push for a luxury, long wheelbase car - it's what China likes.

        On the other hand, I can't help but wonder if Volvo's salvation - at least in the West - is looking to its past: logical, tough cars that may not inspire lust from most people, but are a solid, rational purchase decision. A car in this vein is usually what you hear Volvo fans asking for (after a new R car, of course). Subaru has stayed on this track (minus the STI, and in a downmarket sort of way in comparison to Volvo), but it's working for them... especially in a post-bubble economy where stretching to look cool is out, and honest looking design is in.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Much like Tata when they purchased Jag/LR, Geely has a lot to prove to the world market. Fortunately it seems that they intend to do everything right. They are keeping the Volvo management team, keeping its HQ in Gothenburg, allowing the R&D engineers to continue without micro management, and pumping the funds and resources Volvo needs that Ford didn't or wouldn't provide.

        All I ask is a proper return of the R badge.
      • 5 Years Ago
      bout time, Like Saab with it's former parent company; Volvo was has been a top level Luxury car more so then Acura but their parents always bastard the company...It's like they never wanted them to succeed...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah good luck with all that.

      While you're dreaming the dream, how about a 3-series fighter too??

      Heck why not? Seems that every time some company is going to bring out a sporty mid-size they ALWAYS say that it will beat the 3-series. Now they are trying to aim even bigger with an S-class/7-series fighter. Until it actually SHIPS and is truly competitive, then this is all just a pipe dream or a lot of hot air.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ British_Rover

        Well what do you want me to say?
        Apparently you have a hot tub time machine that can peer into the future to see that a car that has not been released yet (or is just now being released) is better than the class benchmark.

        Good for you, champ.

        For the rest of us, we'll have to wait to see that - once again - a car is heralded as a "3-series killer," turns out to be just another also-ran. No one is saying that it is a bad car - far from it actually, but I for one am sooooo sick and tired of everyone aiming for the benchmark with tons of hoopla, and time and again missing the mark. Even some of the fiercest competition lately - cars like the CTS and Infiniti G - still don't quite hit the bull-eyes in some respects.

        But apparently your time machine proves that Volvo's got it goin' on.

        (and to be clear, I am not that big of a 3-series fan - I would much prefer a CTS - but even I'll admit that the CTS is damn close, but falls a little short in some respects)
        • 5 Years Ago

        Lots of probably's, might's and should's in your post


        So in other words you don't have anything to counter my arguments with? Good to know.

        I sell 100 to a 125 new and used cars a year. I have a pretty good handle on what prices various vehicles go for but I can't say exactly what a given car will sell for on a given day. That is why I put some qualifiers in there and BMW could shift their incentives structures at anytime too.

        The facts are that the new S60 will be priced 5,000 to 10,000 less then a simlar 335xi and still carry a better warranty plus some features that simply aren't avaliable on the 3 series at all. There wil be people who will buy the S60 over a simlar 3 series or C-Class for that reason. I know that because I have seen it happen with the S80 over the past couple of years. BMW will still sell more 3 series models then Volvo will S60s but that has more to do with the more competitive leasing offers that BMW has and the larger dealer network then anything else.

        You are going to get the fan boys and die hards who love the 3 series or BMWs as a whole more then any other car but you will never win those people over. Volvo just needs to grab a couple percent of BMWs sales away to grab some big market share and that can happen.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ John H.

        Lots more profit margin, sure, but cars like the S or 7 are much more than the sum of their parts. Above all else, they have an image and heritage that you simply can not buy... it's something that you have to build over many years of building large, expensive, well-engineered cars.

        Just look at the Japanese lux cars - they can probably go toe-to-toe with then in most specs, but that still doesn't give them the same cachet that the German brands have.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ British_Rover

        Lots of probably's, might's and should's in your post.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the new S60 will be a bit of a 3 series fighter.

        It is going to launch with torque vectoring AWD and a 300/325 hp to torque turbo six cylinder for under 40,000 USD.

        Add premium pacakge(sunroof, power passenger seat and adaptive bi-xenons) and climate package puts you at just over $40,000 but you will still be able to by one for under $40,000 as they will sell for right around invoice.

        A 335Xi with the same options will have a MSRP of about $48,000 and maybe if you really, really beat someone up you can buy it for around $45,000 if you are lucky. The Volvo has a longer warranty 5/60 vs 4/50 with the same coverage for wear and tear items plus factory scheduled service. You can do a whole lot of things with $6,000.Tthe BMW also won't have the City safety system that Volvo has standard for any price.

        Load up the 3 series with all the options you can put on a S60 and the MSRP inflates to over $58,000 but again if you reall beat someone up you can probably buy one for $53,000-$54,000. The same S60 would top out just over $48,000 and give you a more advanced active cruise control with pedestrian detection, the return of the 4C active chassis from the original S60R and something you can't get on the 3 series plus a back up camera that can't be had on the 3 series either. You will probably be able to buy that S60 for under $45,000.

        Oh and the best thing of all you don't have to buy runflats when you buy the Volvo.

        Same gas mileage but the Volvo is tuned to run on regular. I run into lots of people who won't even consider a car if it requires premium. Stupid I know but that that is something that really influences the minds of many buyers.

        Sizing wise they are about the same but the Volvo is a hair longer and will probably have more foot well room because of the transverse engine and a smaller transmission tunnel so more thigh room.

        No you can't get the S60 in a manual and no it won't have rear biased AWD. How many manuals does BMW even sell anymore? Less then 10% of their volume last I heard so most people don't care about that and most people don't even know what Rear biased AWD is.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Competing with the S-class is a lot easier - big car, big power, soft interior - lots of margin to work with.

        Making a successful 3-fighter is a lot tougher - just ask Caddy & Infiniti
      • 5 Years Ago
      I for one would like to see more inexpensive small cars from Volvo. I'm from a south central region of China where most people (including me) live in impoverished conditions. But there are quite a bit of good flat roads around, and Volvos as cheap as your ordinary rice cookers would sell quite well here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not sure Geely will take Volvo that far downmarket - don't they already have that market covered with their other cars? Geely looks to make Volvo a premium brand, like BMW / Benz.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Of course this new chairman wants a 7-series rival, because he can't drive an actual 7-series to work and an Volvo S80 is not enough for him :D

      I think this would be a good move to make Volvo seem more upmarket and elevate their image.

      A flagship model makes the other cars look better also. And I think Volvo can pull this off

        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not convinced a sedan greater in size and price will work for Volvo.

        Volkswagen Phaeton much? IMHO a bigger Volvo would turn out the same way: decent car, less prestigious badge than competition, poor sales.

        The S80 isn't a huge seller even though it offers good value compared to the E, A6 etc. Isn't the S80 LWB the ride of choice for those looking for a more luxurious Volvo.

        It's sad because it (S90?) would probably be pretty nice but I doubt sales would be sufficient to support another model.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think this is going to be a bad idea.

      While Mercedes has been making large cars since before the dark days of the national socialist party, and BMW has the baroque era post-war cars Volvo has never been a large-car company. The cultural legacy of Sweden hasn't really worked well for creating plutocrat barges. France has tried and failed with its 3 core brands to crack this market, and they have a similar political and cultural heritage to Sweden - one that stresses egalitarianism over consumption.

      I wish Volvo the best in this endeavor, but honestly I'd much rather see a return to form making the world's best middle-class cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree with what you are saying but I think Volvo can do both, go up market while at the same time offering lower range models. BMW and Audi both do it with their smaller models and in Europe stipper luxury models are very popular, Volvo could bring those kinds of cars here to keep entry prices low.

        I think right now Volvo is stuck in a weird place, that the inbetween market is not what it was in the 80s when Saab and Volvo were so popular, with companies like VW and Hyundai bringing upmarket models to showrooms the gap between regular and luxury brands has really been narrowed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Once upon a time, Volvo played at the bottom, with the P1800. There's always room to go big, which their XC90 shows.

        Only making ho-hum successors to the venerable 242 simply isn't the future of Volvo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For God sakes, they better not make it FWD.

      I think Volvo can succeed with a 7 or s class rival if they make heart-racing cars at a lower level first.the model they speak of will obviously be dubbed s90, so they should start with an s50 and s70 first. the 50,70, 90 cars will be RWD (competing with BMW and Merc) while the 60 and 80 will be the traditional "softer" cars to compete with lexus and the others.

      If i had to make a timeline, id say their priorities would be:

      -current s60-keep as FWD
      -s70- RWD, share components with s80, compete with cls and other "four door coupes"
      -s50-RWD, replace s40, on shortened s70 platform, competes with lexus is and bmw 1
      -replace s80-keep as FWD

      -if all goes well, make RWD s90

      it'll definitely be an expensive move for Volvo, but a healthy diverse lineup (50,60,70,80) that tackles all fronts in the luxury segment will at least allow Volvo to be mentioned in the same breath as its aspired competitors.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Won't they have to get a new platform for this? Or will they stretch one of their current platforms?
      • 5 Years Ago
      They have to create a viable 5-series/E-class competitor first. The S80 doesn't have the presence, road manners, or a premium enough feel to compete at that level. Perhaps a step up from an ES350, but it needs to rise a few more steps to reach E-class competitiveness (and E-class money).

      On a side note, Is Volvo's long term plan trying to position S40/60/80 as 3/5/7 competitors? Right now, the 40 falls lower than the e, the 60 just above (in terms of size), and the 80's kind of in the middle of nowhere...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I've driven the S80 3.2 and the S80 T6, as well as the MB E350, Infiniti G37 and M35, cars which are arguably in the same ballpark. I've also sat in Lexus's offerings (didn't feel motivated enough to try them), as well as the compact German trio.

        The interior's nice enough, but the surfaces just don't seem to offer the same kind of feel or solidity that one's more used to when spending decent coin on a car. In terms of dynamics, the S80 didn't feel as athletic as the E350, and while the T6 had a bunch of grunt, neither car seemed nearly as refined as the E350, especially when pushed. On the outside, aside from the short wheelbase, the S80's a good looking car, but it seems to disappear on the road.

        Granted, we're looking at cars in the low to mid $40k range here, often with incentives. But if Volvo's midsize offering can't quite command E-class money yet, should they really be aiming for S-class money (or even LS-class money) first?

        Of course, these are just my opinions, and maybe I didn't give the S80 a fair shake without trying the V8 variant...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have to agree that the S80 may not be on the exact same level as those cars but it's not that far behind especially when you consider the large price difference. I recently drove an S80 and I was impressed by the interior, it's without question competitive with other luxury cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      About time, if you ask me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Volvo has hinted around making a larger D-segment executive type car in the past. They do already make that long wheelbase S80 for China so something could be done with that. They won't make a whole new platform for this car as I just don't see that making any sense.

      Using the current XC90 platform doesn't make sense either. That is a D3/P2 platform and Volvo is phasing it out. The XC90 is the last vehicle on it and I don't expect that platform to last past the 2011/2012 MY. Volvo is still selling XC90s at a decent clip right now with minimal incentives but the differance in ride quality and NVH between the XC90 and XC60 using the EUCD platform is worlds apart. To stay competitive the XC90 needs to be redesigned onto the EUCD soon preferably before the end of CY2011.

      The Yamaha V8 is also on the way out. The S80 loses it this year for MY11 though the XC90 will use it for at least one more year. The new T6 makes almost as much power and gets better mileage while costing less with fewer warranty costs. I do love the sound of that V8 but don't see Volvo using it for another car.

      So I see them most likely working the current EUCD platform to stretch it as much as possible and load it up with an even more powerful version of the new T6 motor. The current T6 doesn't have direct injection and isn't using that much boost. Direct injection, larger intercooler and more boost would put that engine in the high 300 to low 400 hp range which woudl be adequate.

      Yeah it isn't a V8 but who says you need to have a V8 in this segment? BMW, Merc and Audi all used to offer six cylinder versions of their top end cars. If the price is lower and you get better mileage with more emissions it is a good move. Volvo needs to watch out to keep their MPG up in order to comply with new CAFE moves at least if they plan to sell this large car in the US. If they only plan it for China then that doesn't really matter but in the US Volvo has to get their overall fleet mileage up.

      In the US the biggest challenge Volvo has in general is the lack of lease support. The other premium/luxury brands have their own captive finance arms but Volvo does not. They are stuck using US Bank and US bank blows. We aren't going to get back to the days of a 399 lease on a mid 45k car but a low 40k car can't lease in the high 600 range and be competitive with the other premium brands.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Volvo has never really had a "large" sedan per se, other than the 960, but even that was classified as mid-size. They'll need to source a V8 from someone because the current Yamaha developed 311HP unit is going to satisfy buyers suddenly used to 400 - 550HP V8's all of the others are using.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think that turbocharging the Yamaha V8 like John H. says would be fine. Same displacement as BMW's turbocharged V8. The nice thing about the Yamaha is the narrow bank angle which allows for tighter packaging and thus more space for crumple zones. A heavily modified version of this engine makes 650hp in the Noble M15.
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