Volvo intends XC90 SUV to signal it is serious about being a luxury brand.
The new Volvo XC90 arriving in May next year is being armed to push perceptions of the prestige brand further up the scale in Australia. The SUV is in the first stages of a drip-feed reveal to last over the next couple of months, and while we're yet to see the exterior, early photos and details of what's in the cabin are a clear indication that the XC90 is aimed at the top shelf of luxury.
"I think in certain markets overseas, Volvo is seen as a direct competitor for the German luxury brands," Volvo Australia managing director Matt Braid says. "But in other markets like Australia, I think we're seen as a luxury brand but not on the same shelf as the Germans. What you are now seeing in XC90 validates that we are a luxury brand and very serious contender in that market."
Braid knows that after 11 years since the last XC90, there will be strong demand around the globe for the newcomer. However he's confident that Australia will not be squeezed on supply. "We are seen as a very strong XC90 market here -- we always have been," he says. "With all new models there's a ramp up in volume, but there could still be some supply constraints – but the hope is that with everything going smoothly there won't be an issue."
The path for the XC90 was paved by the XC Coupe concept pictured above, and Braid says while we can expect to see some of the concept cues on the production SUV, it's not a complete carryover. "The concept has done a very good job of highlighting exterior elements, although nothing's directly transferred," he says.
However he points to the styling of the XC Coupe and the other two in the trio of recent Volvo concepts as an indication of what is ahead for the rest of the range. "They indicate what might be in store not directly but in terms of themes and elements... So watch this space," he says. "Product is king. You have to have good product, and we have a very good future product plan in place. In terms of the Australian perspective, we're very excited."