Volvo are investing £7 billion in their future – half of that in Sweden – and the first model to benefit will be the long overdue 2014 Volvo XC90.
Just like all of Ford’s premium automotive adventures - Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin included – Volvo has suffered from a long period of under investment but now – with China’s Geely in charge – they’re forging ahead with big investment and big plans to try and emulate the turnaround Tata has accomplished at JLR.
That means an investment of £7 billion over the next three years – £3.5 billion of that in Sweden – in a new scalable architecture (SPA) platform and new Volvo engine architecture (VEA) to underpin most of Volvo’s future models.
The new SPA platform will be scalable to suit most of Volvo’s future plans (including the 2014 XC90) and the new range of lighter, more efficient 4-cylinder engines - built in Sweden and including hybrid variants – should ensure Volvo no longer has to rely on its traditional 5-pot engines.
Volvo are spending over £1 billion on its production facilities in Sweden including a new bodyshop in Torslanda - expected to be ready by the end of 2013 – the Volvo bodyshop in Olofström and big changes to the Skövde engine plant to deal with the new generation of four cylinder engines.
All the investment in new platforms and new engines will first come together when the 2014 Volvo XC90 launches – probably at the Paris Motor Show in 2014 – with the SPA platform and a new range of four cylinder engines.
Volvo will be hoping that the 2014 XC90 is as well received as the original XC90 was when it arrived a decade ago, offering a flexible and able alternative option in the SUV market and so well conceived it still manages to be relevant a decade later with little change.
And if the 2014 XC90 is as good as the current XC90 – and the new Volvo V40, for that matter – Volvo could see a real change in its fortunes and become what it’s always wanted to be – the Swedish equivalent of the German premium marques.