Now That the CX40’s a Hit, Volvo Wants More Small Cars


Volvo, back from near death and feeling pretty pleased with itself, wants to capitalize on the modular platform found beneath the XC40 compact crossover. With 80,000 orders for the new-for-2018 ‘ute under its belt, the Chinese-owned Swede plans to spawn more models and reassert itself in the small car space.

On Thursday, the company said it would throttle up production of the XC40 at its Belgian assembly plant, which will soon boast quite a bit of usable space. The S60 sedan’s headed to South Carolina later this year. Meanwhile, the V60 wagon sibling will move most of its production to a Swedish plant.

What does this mean for the United States? Perhaps more than you’d expect.

We’ll definitely see the new S60, which Volvo wants to appeal to sporty, youthful buyers, but it’s difficult to see any real hope of a small passenger car coup in the American marketplace. It’s no longer a space many automakers are interested in fighting for. Still, the automaker, which said two years ago that the 40-series cars would certainly arrive on these shores, hasn’t publicly backtracked. Volvo trademarked the C40 name in the U.S. in 2015 and the V40 name in 2016.

A Volvo spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe that the company would replace the current, overseas-only V40 with a “range” of small models based on the XC40’s Compact Modular Architecture. These models would not be hatchbacks, she said, without going into detail.

The first XC40s trickled onto U.S. sales charts in February. Last month, Volvo sold 1,404 of them in the states, making it the brand’s third-best selling model after the XC90 and new XC60 crossovers.

“The XC40’s success has surpassed even our highest expectations,” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a recent media release.

Volvo has said that its CMA architecture can be easily shortened, paving the way for a smaller class of subcompact vehicles that more or less match the current C-segment’s width. It also seems pretty protective of its future model names. In the past couple of years, the automaker has filed U.S. trademark applications for the names V20, V30, S50, XC10, XC20, XC30, and XC50.

While a trademark is no guarantee of U.S. sales availability, a subcompact CMA crossover seems like a likely — and necessary — addition to its American lineup. While it pales in comparison to the kind of volume seen in the compact segment, it’s crowded enough to be  worthwhile.

Besides the 40-series cars, Volvo is readying an all-electric model for a 2019 debut. This vehicle will apparently launch as a standalone model.

[Image: Volvo Cars]