Volvo Done With Niche Vehicles Like Convertibles?

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If something doesn't make money then what's the point?

Niche vehicles like convertibles are common among luxury carmakers, despite the fact they’re, well, niche. Convertibles, and sometimes coupes, appeal to a very specific buyer. Not all automakers will even bother with convertibles any more, and as Roadshow has learned, Volvo is one of them. Speaking to Volvo Cars CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, at this year’s LA Auto Show, Roadshow inquired about what’s next in the brand’s slate now that it has successfully redesigned its entire US lineup. A convertible, perhaps?

“That’s not what the customers are expecting,” Samuelsson said. “We will work on not widening the scope,” meaning that instead of doing a new convertible or even a premium hatchback like the old C30, Volvo will continue focusing on electrification options for its existing models.

For example, a plug-in hybrid version of the highly successful XC40 will arrive soon. In addition, Volvo plans to improve its infotainment offerings for its entire model range, specifically a Google-powered infotainment system. “That,” Samuelsson stressed, “is more important than new body shapes.” Based on this, it’s clear Volvo now has its head on straight and knows exactly what’s needed in order to further grow the brand. Not so many years ago, Volvo was struggling.

Its previous owner, Ford, could not figure out how to rehabilitate Volvo’s image. But since the sale to China’s Geely, Volvo has thrived. Although it’s now Chinese-owned, the Swedes are the ones who manage the automaker on a day-to-day basis.

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They, of course, understand Volvo better than anyone or any other country. The next model to be redesigned is the XC90, due in 2021. And although the latest generation XC90 was revealed in 2015, it still looks and feels totally fresh nearly four years later. But even with all of Volvo’s latest success stories, it’s making the smart decision to invest in vehicles and technologies buyers clearly want, not what Volvo predicts or hopes they’ll want.

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