New 5-door hatch would be derived from the current C30 but feature a distinct Scandinavian design. The model is set to launch in 2012 and is Volvo's top priority, according to CEO Stefan Jacoby.

Volvo is working on a new 5-door hatch to be ready for 2012 to take on the likes of the VW Golf.

Currently, Volvo does not have a car like that in the segment. The C30 is a hatch of the right size but comes only in a 3-door body style. Volvo also has the larger V50 wagon.

The new model would be based on the current architecture with which Volvo builds the S40 and C30 coupe which the Swedish automaker derived from Ford's Focus platform from the days when Ford owned Volvo.

The C-segment (often referred to as the Golf class) is the largest in Europe. And the 5-door hatch is the preferred body style for the segment.

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby, formerly head of Volkswagen of America, told Inside Line that the hatch would have its own distinct Scandinavian style and that its development for a 2012 launch was Volvo's top priority. Which may leave building a successor to the XC90 SUV on the back burner for the time being.

"We have to stop copying the Germans," Jacoby said in the Inside Line story. "A new face is something we are looking at. We need a more distinguishing front end, and this will be the first step in our new models."


Gallery: Volvo working on 5-door hatch to rival Golf for 2012