Volvo Redesigns XC60 As Bigger, Smarter SUV

Filed in Transportation by on March 8, 2017

Volvo has redesigned the brand’s global best-seller, XC60; and expects the bigger, smarter and more technologically advanced model to exceed the success of its predecessor.

The Vice-President of Volvo’s midsize vehicle line, Karl-Johan Ekman, says the automaker hopes the new vehicle will outsell the first-generation model.

Ahead of the XC60’s unveiling at the Geneva auto show on Tuesday Ekman was quoted by Automotive News Europe as saying, “We are in a very ambitious mode right now and we want to move the company to the next level.”

He added that the XC60 was crucial to Volvo’s Chief Executive Officer, Hakan Samuelsson’s plans to set a fourth consecutive all-time high for global sales in 2017.

At the launch proper on Tuesday, Samuelsson said, “We have high expectations for this car. This car is a very important element of our future growth plan and for our profitability.”

According to Automotive News, the Swedish automaker aims to boost worldwide volume to 800,000 vehicles by 2020 and increase operating profit margin to eight percent from 6.1 per cent last year. “The XC60, Volvo’s top-selling model in Europe and the United States, accounted for 30 per cent of the automaker’s 534,332 worldwide sales in 2016,” the report added.

Volvo has made the second-generation model 44 mm longer (4688 mm), 108 mm wider (1999 mm) and reduces the SUV’s height by 55 mm (1658 mm).

Auto analysts including Automotive News say despite the changes, which Volvo claims make the XC60 the biggest model in its class, the SUV’s weight is either 20kg lighter or 20kg heavier than its predecessor, depending on the powertrain.

This is said to have been achieved through extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminium and hot-formed boron steel. They also note that the SUV’s ground clearance has been reduced to 216 mm from 230mm; and Volvo says the new figure is still best in class.

The second-generation XC60 has new safety technology that provides the driver with automatic steering assistance or support to help avoid potential collisions. Two of the new advanced driver assistance features are standard in every XC60.

There is an upgrade of the SUV’s City Safety system to include steering help at speed of 50 to 100kph when automatic braking alone may not stop a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian or large animal.

There is also a new system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which helps drivers avoid collisions with vehicles in the oncoming lane at speeds of 60 to 140 kph.

The system is said to work by alerting a driver who has drifted out of the lane and by automatically steering the driver out of the path of any oncoming vehicle.

Another safety technology, which is optional, is the Blind Spot Information System. This, along with alerting a driver to the presence of a vehicle, works by steering the car back into its own lane and away from danger.

The Senior Director of Volvo’s Safety Centre, Malin Ekholm, said in a release, “All three of these new features represent clear steps in our work toward fully autonomous cars. We have all of the benefits of the safety technology we introduced in our larger 90-series cars in the new XC60.”

The mass production of the SUV is expected start at Volvo’s factory in Torslanda, Sweden, in mid-April and will be made available at dealers latest by September this year.

According to the firm Volvo will start taking orders for the XC60 in the US in mid-June. Volvo’s factory in Chengdu, central China, will start output of the SUV in autumn and with sales set to begin early next year.

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