After showing teasers on Snapchat, Volvo has now officially revealed two new concept cars. Dubbed 40.1 and 40.2, the cars preview new Volvo 40 Series models and are most likely a hint as to the design of the next Volvo S40 and XC40.
Both the concepts pick up design cues seen on the Volvo XC90, S90, and V90, starting with the “Thor’s Hammer” running lights and wide-mouth grille with Volvo’s Iron Mark emblem. The 40.1 is a crossover design with high ground clearance, black fender cladding, and darkened pillars and a black roof. Taut lines define the bodywork, while the sloped rear window is bookended by L-shaped taillights. The 40.2, meanwhile, is a lower and more sedan-like car, with its C-shaped taillights that more closely match the design of the new S90 sedan. As with the 40.1, the 40.2 concept rides relatively high on its large alloy wheels, with black cladding around the fender recalling the tough, high-riding stance of the S60 Cross Country.
The Volvo 40 cars will be the first to ride on the company’s new CMA modular platform. Smaller than the SPA platform used for the XC90/S90/V90, CMA will also accommodate a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, in this case called T5 Twin Engine. That powertrain will incorporate a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a three-cylinder gasoline engine, as well as electric motors. The CMA platform will also add an all-electric model, though it won’t arrive until sometime after Volvo’s larger, SPA-based EV debuts in 2019.
The 40.1 and 40.2 concepts represent Volvo’s contention that the global appetite for “premium small cars” will continue to grow over the coming years.
“CMA has helped us to capture something special, something youthful in our new concept cars,” Volvo Car Group senior vice president of design Thomas Ingelath said in a statement. “They have an energy, a disruptive and engaging urban character that makes them stand out amongst the crowd. This is the flavor of small Volvos to come.”
The first production models from Volvo’s new 40 Series range will debut in 2017, potentially with styling not too far removed from these concepts.
Gallery: Volvo 40.1 and 40.2 Concepts
First look at new compact cars from Volvo
Volvo Cars has unveiled two new concept cars which move the Swedish brand in an audacious new direction and mark the official launch of its global small car strategy.
The newly-revealed 40 series concepts demonstrate for the first time how Volvo plans to expand into the large and lucrative global market for premium small cars with a range of vehicles that combine bold exterior and interior design with industry-leading connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving technologies.
The new concept cars will be the first Volvos built on the company's new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which has been specifically created for smaller cars and in so doing liberated the company's designers and engineers to explore bold and daring new directions.
"Each member of our product family has its own distinct character, just like the members of a real family. CMA has helped us to capture something special, something youthful in our new concept cars. They have an energy, a disruptive and engaging urban character that makes them stand out amongst the crowd. This is the flavour of small Volvos to come," says Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design, at Volvo Car Group.
Volvo's small car strategy is an essential element in its ongoing global operational and financial transformation. The Swedish company is currently implementing an ambitious revitalisation plan that will reposition the brand to compete with its global premium competitors within the next four years.
Volvo's new global small car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as Twin Engine plug-in hybrid variants, in line with the company's commitment to the electrification of its entire portfolio. Volvo plans to have sold a total of one million electrified cars by 2025 globally.
"By taking a modular approach to both vehicle architecture and powertrain development we have succeeded in leap-frogging many other players in the premium segment," says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research & Development. "Our new battery electric variant opens yet another exciting chapter in the unfolding Volvo story."
On top of their daring exterior design and electrified powertrain options, the new cars will also offer a full range of innovative connectivity services, plus the world's most advanced standard package of safety features and ground-breaking Scandinavian interior design.
"The new 40-series cars have the potential to improve our market penetration in an important growing segment," says Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. "An electric powertrain programme including both a new compact Twin Engine plug-in hybrid as well as a pure electric car are central to the CMA architecture." He adds that the first new 40-series car is expected to go into production in 2017.
The announcement of Volvo's new global small car strategy comes on the back of a strong start to the year in terms of sales and profitability.
The company announced that revenues for the first three months of the year rose 24 per cent year-on-year to SEK41.7bn (~R76.8bn), generating an operating profit of SEK3.1bn (~R5.7bn) and an operating profit margin of 7.5 per cent. Global sales for the first quarter of 2016 increased 11.9 per cent to 120 591 cars. Volvo has a medium term ambition to sell 800 000 cars per year, the goal already on track after 2015 sales totalled 503 000 units.