2009 Detroit Auto Show: Future Volvo Products
By Kevin Miller
While Volvo’s big focus in Detroit was on the S60 Concept, there is a bit more to report from the Volvo stand. Before Sunday evening’s reveal of the S60 Concept, Volvo’s stage had only two vehicles on it: a pair of XC60 crossovers. There was also a “closet” with cutouts the shape of pants, painted in each of the exterior colors available on the XC60, and actual shirts sewn with color combinations of leather to illustrate the possible colors in the forthcoming crossover.
Use of the word “forthcoming” implies that the XC60 will actually be for sale here some day. While it seems like the XC60 has been forthcoming for at least a year, the wait is nearly over, as the crossover will be at dealerships in March. Volvo’s representative was quick to point out that pre-orders are being accepted right now.
The day following the S60 Concept’s reveal, Volvo’s stand received an influx of current models, though the outgoing S60 was not included. As the new S60 is already slated for introduction in 2010 in a body very similar to the concept car, Volvo mustn’t have felt the need to dress up the old car for one last auto show, the way dealers are having to dress the old car up to get it out of the showroom.
Conspicuously absent from the Volvo stand was anything with improved fuel efficiency. During the days of $4/gallon gasoline, Volvo had nothing to offer customers looking for a 30 MPG vehicle. While the representative I spoke to confirmed that Volvo’s ultra-efficient DRIVe diesel vehicles won’t be coming to the US because of “infrastructure” reasons (whatever that means), she did confirm that Volvo will have a hybrid for sale in the US in 2012.
Unfortunately she had no information about whether the hybrid system will be installed in a current Volvo vehicle, or whether they hybrid will be in an entirely new car. It seems likely that the hybrid launch will coincide with a replacement for the S40/V50 line, so perhaps the system will have a place in the next generation of that vehicle. Of course, 2012 is three years away, and a lot can change in that time. Hopefully low gas prices aren’t one of the things that will change dramatically, or Volvo will be caught flat-footed again in the US market.
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