The Volvo brand posted some of the biggest increases in vehicle sales in Canada in 2017, and the new year just starting looks just as promising for the automaker, particularly with the introduction of its all-new XC40 crossover, freshly unveiled in a Canadian debut this week during the 2018 Montreal Auto Show.
As pointed out to us by Hugues Bissonnette, director of sales operations for Volvo Cars Canada, the $11 billion investment poured into the company by its new Chinese owner Geely between 2011 and 2015 is now paying big dividends. Among other things, this infusion of funds allowed Volvo to develop its new SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, on which the XC90 and XC60 are based, as is the line of Drive-E engines, which combine the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder with the performance of a V6 or V8. Another example is the new Volvo Sensus infotainment system.
Interesting fact: the large XC90 is still Volvo’s top-selling model in Canada, thanks to an exceedingly loyal clientele. The XC60 did finish the year strongly, however, and Hugues Bissonnette expects it to overtake its larger sibling once and for all in 2018. The model, in fact, has just been chosen North American Utility Vehicle of the Year for 2018. Volvo is confident of the XC40 and XC60’s ability to lure customers away from competitors as well as attract first-time luxury-car buyers.
The XC40, in brief
Built on the new CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform, the third SUV in Volvo’s arsenal represents a new expression of the brand’s distinctive design esthetic; trendier, more urban, the car clearly aims at a younger demographic. But being a Volvo, it also seeks to set new standards in terms of both safety and connectivity in its segment.
In Canada, the 2019 Volvo XC40 will be equipped with the T5 Drive-E powertrain and, in the Momentum and R-Design versions, all-wheel drive. With 250 hp at its disposal and a starting price of $39,500, it’s the most powerful luxury compact SUV under $40,000 on the market.
The XC40 will be in dealerships starting this spring, although interested buyers can pre-order it now (already, over 250 of the 1,000 units allotted for the Canadian market have been snapped up). As well, Volvo’s Hugues Bissonnette confirmed to us that the new all-inclusive Care by Volvo subscription service, which will be inaugurated with the XC40, will be offered beginning later in 2018.
Click here for more information about the 2019 Volvo XC40!
Other launches in 2018, and electric focus
Volvo’s plans for 2018 don’t end with its XC40; the brand is keeping its foot on the accelerator and plans to launch the next-generation V60 wagon this summer, and will follow that up with the S60 sedan, set to be the first Volvo vehicle built in North America.
As regards the company’s plan to have an electric motor in every Volvo model starting in 2019 (with five all-electric vehicles to come by 2021, three of them Volvos along with two high-performance Polestar models), director of sales Bissonnette assured us that the automaker’s customers will welcome the change in direction. The technology of the T8 hybrid engine has already proven itself, and 20% of buyers of the XC90 have already opted for it, in spite of the higher cost.