Bye, Bye Concept Universe: Volvo Says No to Flagship Luxury Car


At the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo displayed the Concept Universe, a study that was said to preview the company’s flagship luxury sedan. At the Frankfurt show that same year, the Swedish automaker came up with another study for a large luxury car, the Concept You.
One could say these two concepts proved Volvo was serious about launching a flagship saloon model. However, at this year's Shanghai auto show, the carmaker’s CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, said Volvo will not develop a large luxury sedan to compete against the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 or Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
According to Samuelsson, such a flagship car wouldn’t fit Volvo’s green image and suit its customers’ tastes. "We don't have any ambitions to go into a segment where we would compete with vehicles that have V8 or V12 engines. We don't believe it would fit our brand image," Samuelsson told Automotive News.
Following Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s acquisition of Volvo in 2010, the Chinese company’s CEO, Li Shufu, expressed his opinion that Volvo should compete directly with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. However, Stefan Jacoby, Volvo’s CEO at the time, said that a luxury sedan wouldn’t fit the Swedish brand’s image. His successor, Hakan Samuelsson, seems to have the same opinion, despite the fact that a flagship luxury sedan may have helped Volvo, especially in China. If it saved VW’s 10-year-old Phaeton luxury car from extinction, we imagine a brand new luxury Volvo would have had an even better fate.
The current CEO says he’s concentrating on launching replacements for the XC90 and S80, both to be underpinned by Volvo’s new scalable platform architecture (SPA). Volvo is also co-developing a platform for a family of compact cars with Geely, which could benefit from Volvo’s expertise in order to offer competitive models in China’s biggest market segment.
By Dan Mihalascu



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