We’ve heard it all before but rarely have we seen it executed successfully; mid-tier luxury brands attempting to move upmarket and compete with top tier brands.
Acura is one such company that has often stated reaching top tier status
as its primary goal and in recent years has made significant strides towards achieving it, although it still has a lot of ground to cover.
Volvo, too, toyed with the idea
of moving upmarket when the company was taken over by China’s Geely, and even rolled out a couple of concepts (Universe
) that some interpreted to be the automaker’s preview of a new high-end sedan designed to rival the likes of the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S Class.
However, Volvo’s recently recruited CEO, Hakan Samuelsson
, has put such rumors to the rest, emphatically stating that a high-end sedan is not on the horizon for Volvo.
Speaking with Automotive News
(subscription required), Samuelsson said a large and powerful sedan doesn’t fit with Volvo’s new green image and that buyers of such models aren’t likely to even consider a Volvo in the first place.
“We don't have any ambitions to go into a segment where we would compete with vehicles that have V-8 or V-12 engines,” he said. “We don't believe it would fit our brand image.”
Instead, Volvo will continue with its current plan of replacing its aging lineup with a new range of models based on its modular SPA platform. The first of these SPA-based models will be a 2015 XC90 SUV
due at the end of next year, followed by redesigned versions of the S80 and S60 sedans.
All of Volvo’s future models will feature four-cylinder engines, and for additional performance the automaker will employ electric drive systems connected via hybrid configurations. Volvo also plans to expand into the compact car segment and is developing a second platform
for these entries.
Finally, Volvo is eyeing an expansion in the lucrative Chinese market by opening more dealerships and starting local production. Last year, Volvo sold just 42,000 cars in China but still has set an ambitious target of 200,000 sales by 2015.