Volvo’s ambitious growth plans are no secret; it plans to increase sales to 800,000 units globally, and directly compete with global luxury manufacturers like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. It plans to do that by putting a particular emphasis on China, and moving its lineup upmarket to generate higher revenues. That effort was previewed by the Concept You at Frankfurt, showing what a new large luxury sedan will look like. In what might seem like a contradiction,reports that Volvo will soon be switching its lineup to four-cylinder engines (or below). This isn’t just hearsay either, it comes directly from Volvo Research & Development head Peter Martens. Speaking with AN, he said “Before the end of the decade, all Volvo models will have engines with no more than four-cylinders.”
Currently Volvo uses four, five and six-cylinder engines, but a new architecture is being developed to replace them entirely. It is referred as the Volvo Environmental Architecture (VEA). The first application of the engine is said to show up in an existing production model in 2013.
Volvo says the engine delivers more power than six-cylinder units but with better fuel consumption than their current four-cylinders. Sounds nice right? But what about the Volvo large-sedan? We don’t think customers are quite ready to accept a four-cylinder-only large luxury sedan at the moment.
By the end of the decade, who knows though. The market is moving toward smaller displacement, turbocharged engines. Volvo’s future is all built around VEA, as well as a new modular scalable platform architecture (SPA). SPA will enable 80-percent of Volvo’s lineup to be built on the same production line, and like its name implies, is scalable, meaning it can be used to underpin Volvo’s entire lineup. The first vehicle to use SPA is said to be Volvo’s large sedan, which has an arrival date of 2014. Ambitious? No doubt. We’ll start to see how Volvo’s big plans translate into reality when the S80’s replacement lands.