Swedish automaker Volvo on Thursday unveiled a new compact car design for 2017 and announced plans to build a fully electric model by 2019, continuing its total brand overhaul.
Volvo's new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) will be similar in design and construction to the Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) that underpins its XC90 and the upcoming S90 large sedan, but for a range of smaller vehicles due to begin arriving in 2017. These new models will share powertrains (conventional and plug-in hybrid) with their big siblings, as well as climate, data and safety systems, all of which should streamline development time and cost for Volvo's rebirth.
"The flexibility of CMA liberates Volvo's engineers and designers, allowing them to devise and introduce a wide range of new and alluring features whilst at the same time improving drivability, offering world-class safety features and connected car technologies," said Peter Mertens, senior vice president of Volvo research and development.
The announcements present a better picture of what to expect for Volvo's complete replacement of every vehicle in its lineup over the next four years, starting with this year's launch of the new XC90 luxury SUV. Volvo expects to emerge from the reboot a bona fide luxury brand and bump its global sales volume to 800,000 vehicles annually, no small feat for a small OEM. For comparison, the company reported sales of 465,866 vehicles for 2014.)
Volvo has not outlined specifically which vehicles will ride on the compact architecture, but it's likely eager to step into the new and hotly contested arena of B-segment SUVs, or mini-SUVs. The first entrant will likely be a compact crossover rolling out in 2017 to do battle with the likes of the, , and their . Next, Volvo will almost certainly follow-up with small hatchback or sedan model to replace the , which was discontinued in 2013, leaving a gap at the bottom of the lineup.
In an accompanying release, Volvo also announced its global electrification plans. Volvo customers can expect more implementations of the T8 Twin Engine All-Wheel Drive plug-in hybrid system for both larger SPA and compact CMA models, as well as a lower-cost front-wheel variant of the Twin Engine hybrid system.
Volvo also plans to launch a fully electric model by 2019, though details regarding what class the EV will occupy were omitted. We expect to learn more about Volvo's electrification roadmap in the coming months.