2018 Volvo XC60 enters production with a lot riding on its shoulders

Swedish automaker's most important model will soon have a price tag.

Volvo has commenced production of its second-generation XC60 in Torslanda, Sweden, and the stakes couldn't be higher for the crossover SUV. The market for compact luxury utility vehicles has been exploding worldwide for some time now, but the XC60 has been the linchpin of Volvo's lineup for many years, accounting for some 30% of the company's global volume.

The 2018 XC60 t leverages the Swedish automaker's modular SPA vehicle architecture, as well as the new powertrain and safety technology that underpins the company's larger XC90 SUV, as well as its S90 sedan, V90 wagon and V90 Cross Country softroader.

The outgoing XC60 lasted on the market for an astounding nine years, an eternity in the automotive world. That long lifespan helped Volvo shift almost one million copies worldwide, with the XC60 becoming its top-selling model in all of its major markets.

In fact, in a new interview with Automotive News, Henrik Green, Volvo's Senior Vice President of Research & Development, notes that the XC60 is actually the top-selling vehicle in its class in Europe. That's an outsized achievement for the relatively small automaker, especially with stiff competition from the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

After a prolonged sales torpor, Volvo is firmly on the comeback trail thanks to investment from its Chinese parent, Geely. That momentum won't continue if the new XC60 isn't a raging success, though -- the model isn't just its volume leader, it's also its chief profit center.

Jim Nichols, Volvo USA's Product and Technology Communications Manager, tells me that "[XC60] pricing will be announced in the next few weeks," with customer deliveries and dealer stock arriving in the "very early fall."

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