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VOLVO CARS

Volvo offers sneak peek of new car models

Volvo Cars unveiled updated versions of several of its larger vehicle models on Monday with modifications designed to make them feel more luxurious and boost fuel efficiency.

Volvo offers sneak peek of new car models

“This is the largest renewal we’ve undertaken in that we are updating 70 percent of our production,” Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson said at a press event at Volvo Hall in Gothenburg where six new models were presented.

The last year has been a tough one for Volvo, with sales down and the company forced to make staff cutbacks.

SEE ALSO: In Pictures: A sneak peek at new Volvo car models

But now the company is looking ahead to 2014 by giving facelifts to its 60-, 70, and 80-series.

“The timing is right to present new models,” said Samuelsson.

The cars’ front ends have been given new looks, and a number of other details have been added to make the cars feel more luxurious.

The cars contain so many new elements, according to Samuelsson, that he’d rather refer to them as new models rather than having received facelifts, the term commonly used in the car industry when models are redesigned.

New design elements include a wider front grille, new seats, a heated windscreen and new safety features previously available in the V40.

According to Volvo research and development chief Peter Mertens, the updated models are sure to help Volvo thrive in a tough market.

“This is a beautiful renewal. Perfect for dealing with a crisis,” he said.

The most significant development is a new Volvo-developed four-cylinder motor set to be available at the end of 2014.

In the meantime, however, Volvo’s old motors have been modified to lower fuel consumption to a level that complies with Sweden’s tougher green-car classification standards that come into effect at the end of the year.

Production of the new models will commence in mid-May, primarily at Volvo’s factory in Torslanda near Gothenburg.

The cars’ official unveiling will take place at the Geneva auto show in early March.

TT/The Local/dl

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CARS

Volvo stays in fast lane despite China dip

Swedish automaker Volvo Cars, owned by China's Geely, reported Wednesday a rise in first half profits even as sales tumbled in its biggest market, China.

Volvo stays in fast lane despite China dip
Volvo Cars' Swedish chief executive, Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Note: An earlier version of this story said that first-half profits fell. While net profit attributable to shareholders indeed fell, overall net profits were up. The story has been amended to reflect this.

Net profit more than tripled to 877 million kronor (92 million euros, $56 million), while turnover climbed by 12 percent to 75.2 billion kronor.

Operating profit surged by more than 70 percent to 1.66 billion kronor, thanks to a strong US currency and robust sales of Volvo's SUV model XC60.

But net income attributable to owners of the parent company dropped by 60 percent to 173 million kronor (18 million euros, $20 million).

Volvo's overall car sales in terms of units rose by 1.4 percent to 232,284 during the first half.

The strongest sales growth was registered in Sweden and western Europe, while they remained stable in the United States and declined in China, by 1.2 percent, and the rest of the world, including Russia.

Volvo went through several dark years before returning to profit in 2013. In 2014, it beat its sales record from 2007, selling almost 466,000 vehicles. CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Swedish news agency TT the company expects to sell 500,000 cars this year.

The number of Volvo employees has risen by 10 percent in the past year, to 28,000 worldwide.

Despite its economic slowdown, Volvo plans to boost its presence in China and has acquired 50 percent of three joint ventures from parent company Geely: two assembly plants and one research and development centre.

Geely paid $1.8 billion to buy Volvo from US carmaker Ford in 2010.