Volvo backtracks on flagship sedan plans

Volvo Concept Universe – Click above for high-res image gallery

It seems everyone and their cousin wants a slice of the big pie. Mercedes-Benz has the S-Class, BMW the 7 Series, Audi the A8 and Lexus the LS. Then there's less conventional choices like the Jaguar XJ, Maserati Quattroporte, Hyundai Equus and Volkswagen Phaeton. Even Cadillac's been toying with getting in on the action. But after months – if not years – of hemming and hawing, the latest report suggests we not count on a challenger from Volvo any time soon.

The Swedish automaker had been entertaining the notion of jumping into the stratosphere with its own S-Class challenger, but despite the above-pictured Universe concept car unveiled in Shanghai just days ago, the latest reports indicate that Volvo is not, in fact, preparing for an assault on that particular territory.

Word reportedly comes right from the proverbial horse's mouth: that of Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby, whose revelation disappoints the dreams of Li Shufu, the chairman of Chinese automaker Geely that purchased Volvo last year for $1.8 billion. Jacoby says the company needs to focus on its current lineup while laying the cornerstones for new assembly plants in China. What the point of the Universe show car was, then, remains as much a mystery to us as its bulbous front end.

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[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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