The V40 Cross Country will join the company's range of passenger-based SUVs in Australia but is unlikely to carry on the sharp pricing policy of its front-drive cousin.
Volvo Cars Australia boss Matt Braid says extra hardware for the SUV range -- including all-wheel drive components -- would warrant a price premium. “The Cross Country version of this, we're looking at the third quarter of this year, but we haven't set a date yet.''
“At this stage it's too early to confirm pricing, all-wheel drive will be available on a couple of models potentially, that hardware cost on top -- I don't think we'll be able to price it as sharply as we can the V40, but that category is developing as well so it's a bit of unknown. “I think it will be a good contender in there either way, we'll assess it closer to time,'' he says.
The Cross Country model is expected to get a Haldex on-demand all-wheel drive system (similar to its XC60 sibling), hill descent control and rides 40mm higher than the recently-released V40, wearing body add-ons to distinguish its more adventurous tendencies.
Engines slated for the Cross Country include the 2-litre and 2.5-litre T5 petrol automatics and the 1.6 and 2-litre turbodiesels seen here in the new V40. The SUV variants in the Volvo line-up reflect the growing domination of that vehicle type in the Australian market - the XC60 topped the sales tally for the Chinese-owned Swedish brand with 2179 sales, while the XC90 placed second with 1342 sales.
Mr Braid said the new XC90 was much anticipated, even though the current model was still performing well in the sales race. “We've looking forward to the new version of that - the current one is selling very well, we only sold 6 less last year than we did in 2011.'' “The new XC90 has not been confirmed exactly, but we expect it at some stage in early 2015.''
The company bean-counters are relying on the new V40 racking up between 800 and 1000 in its first full year on sale to offset the shortfall left when the C30, S40 and V50 models dwindle during 2013. “We could be conservative there but we have C30, S40 and V50 disappearing shortly, we sold just under 500 of those last year, if we sell 800 of these then we're happy,'' he says.
Mr Braid says the brand has set a target in the vicinity of 6000 units - up slightly from last year's tally of 5375, which was the marque's highest Australian sales figure since it became a stand-alone brand. “We're targeting about 6000 which is the same pretty much as last year, there's opportunity in S60 and V40, so we'll ride with the opportunities as they present themselves but 6000 is what we'd like to achieve, whatever else comes on top of that,'' he says.