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Volvo XC30 tipped for 2012

Volvo C30.

Volvo has confirmed that an XC30 soft-roader is set to be the fourth crossover in the line-up.  Although details are scarce, the new car will be based on the C30 and sit under the XC60 and XC70.

The company's president overseas corporate strategy, Lex Kerssemakers, confirmed the newcomer at the recent Geneva Motor Show.  "There will be some further expansion of the XC range in the near future," he says.

Reports out of Europe suggest the all-wheel drive XC30 is coming in 2012 with a range of petrol and turbo-diesel engines and similar chunky styling to the XC60.  A station wagon version of the new S60, expected to be called the V60 is also due around the same time.

Kerssemakers says V and XC cars "are the core of our business" and the next logical step was a smaller XC.  "Naturally you would go down at this moment because we're rather well filled with XC60, XC70 and XC90," he says.

However, he believes that unlike other European carmakers who are chasing smaller city cars, Volvo will not go below the C30.  But he concedes that the Swede's impending sale to Chinese carmaker, Geely, could open up new opportunities.

"You never know, the world is changing rapidly," Kerssemakers says.  "You can imagine an electric city car just slightly below the C, could be a good future."  However, to do so would require a partner, he says.

Apart from adding a smaller off-roader to compete against the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, Volvo is working on a five-door version of the C30.  "It's definitely part of the evaluation," Kerssemakers says.  "We elected five years ago to go deliberately with the three doors because it makes a great design statement.  "It's easier.  But at the end, a big part of the market is five-door market and not in the three-door market."

Volvo is also pushing ahead with electric vehicles, he says. "It's an absolutely integrated philosophy with Volvo," Kerssemakers says.

Volvo Australia will launch its ultra-frugal 1.6-litre turbo-diesel DRIVe C30 hatch this month.  Meanwhile, German high performance tuning house, Heico, has already built an all-wheel drive turbo C30 hatch. The XC30 borrowed the same Haldex all-wheel drive system as the V50 all-wheel drive wagon. The one-off was built in 2006 to showcase the company's performance expertise.