Swedish carmaker Volvo recently showcased a concept car previewing its upcoming XC40 small SUV and indicated that it would play an important role in its portfolio in India, where the company sees a growth potential in the entry-level luxury market.
Dubbed 40.1, the concept SUV borrows design elements from the popular XC90 and even the Thor’s Hammer LED running lights, which made its debut in the XC90. It was unveiled alongside the 40.2 concept that features a coupé-like styling, raised ride height and a sloping roofline.
“The 40-series will be extremely significant for India. While the premium vehicle market in India is still relatively small, there is a huge growth potential, especially in the smaller SUV segment,” Peter Mertens, senior vice president, research & development, Volvo Car Group, told Autocar India on the sidelines of the launch in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Both the concepts previewed Volvo’s upcoming 40-series as the company aims to expand its presence in the high-volume entry level-segment. “It (segment) is a fast-growing important segment for Volvo and one of the key elements in our future growth plan,” CEO, Håkan Samuelsson said. The 40.1 concept, or the XC40, is expected to go into production in 2017 and interestingly, Mertens suggested that the production vehicle is likely to remain true to concept.
Powertrain options for the 40-series include three and four-cylinder engines, a T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid and a full electric vehicle. Transmission duties will be undertaken by a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and the cars will be frontwheel-drive only. Both the models will be based on Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which has been designed for not just regular fuels but also hybrids and fully electric vehicles.
Interestingly, the electric vehicle will boast of a range of 350km and will be introduced following the launch of Volvo’s first electric vehicle based on the company’s new platform, which underpins Volvo’s larger cars such as the XC90 and the new S90, in 2019. Electrification as part of the CMA will boost the carmaker’s plan of selling up to 1 million electrified vehicles globally by 2025.
Volvo has co-developed the CMA platform with Chinese parent company, Geely Holding with an aim to achieve greater economies of scale. Talking about the nature of contribution with Geely, Mertens said, “The Chinese are very good when it comes to low-cost solutions and therefore, the engineering will be done in China. We are very good when it comes to technologies. Hence they will be developed by Volvo,” he said.
The company is aiming the 40-series cars at young urban buyers or “urban millennials” as it calls them, which was clearly evident when it used social media platform Snapchat, to tease the concepts prior to its unveiling.