Volvo's popular XC90 seven-seater must soldier on to 2014 at least... And there's not compact XC in sight either
Volvo is still some years away from replacing its top-selling XC90 seven-seat SUV. That's the news from the Swedish company's product and vehicle line chief, Lex Kerssemakers.
Speaking at this week's Geneva Motor Show, Kerssemakers told motoring.com.au the existing XC90 would see more "maintenance" but that customers would not see an all-new XC90 for "at least another two or three years". If that's the case, the car will have been in production for around 14 years.
According to Kerssemakers the replacement for the vehicle will now be built on Volvo's new 'scalable platform'. In line with Volvo's plans to phase out its multi-cylinder engines, the range will also feature four-cylinder and hybrid variants, Kerssemakers suggests.
The lack of a suitable platform, and 2008's global downturn were two of the key reasons the car was delayed, says the Volvo boss. Indeed, Volvo questioned whether the car would be replaced at all.
"Australia did not suffer from it so much, but [in] Europe,  it was a disaster... On top of that the CO2 discussion was making many, many very nervous, especially about the bigger SUV. And then there was the social acceptance in Europe for SUVs. So there was a moment that all thought: 'Is there a future for SUVs?'
"But, I think, with the [latest] technology, the alternative propulsion systems and electrification, and the ongoing need for people to have a seven-seater...Yes, we will continue [with XC90]," Kerrsemakers told motoring.com.au.
The next generation XC90 "won't be smaller" says the Volvo exec. He also says Volvo is looking to repackage the car to allow markets like Australia to retain a spare tyre.
"It probably will grow a little bit because of safety requirements. We're not too paranoid about growing a little bit, but not too much... We definitely want to stay under five metres
"I think for certain markets -- and Australia is one of them -- we, along with others, took it one step too far [by removing provision for a spare tyre]. We’re still exploring [replacing] it because, you know, in all the safety impact, with the requirements of heights and seven seats, it’s not an easy model [to design]. The weight issue is minor... It’s packaging," Kerrsemakers said.
On the subject of a smaller brother for XC60 and 90, Kerrsemakers is typically forthright... But suggests there's little to get excited about yet.
"I am a product planner, so we always have dreams and my ultimate dream is to have a small SUV -- and I find a lot of supporters... But we have now the V40, we need to replace XC90. We need to replace S80, V70, XC70. We have a lot on our plate. And on top of that electrification.
"So we need to find the right moment and the right amount of money before we can do the XC40. It’s very simple. I can’t make a nicer story out of it than that."