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As fuel prices rise and greenhouse gases poke holes in the ozone, big, gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles are becoming less popular as smaller, cleaner vehicles, such as crossovers, gain market share. Volvo is late to the small crossover party, though it wants to build the XC40 crossover to compete with the Land Rover Evoque. The only problem with that, Autocar reports, is that a suitable (read: small enough) platform for it is up to five years away, despite a hopeful photos of it in testing guise.
Volvo is currently developing a new platform, called SPA (Scaleable Platform Architecture), to underpin its next-generation of vehicles, such as the 2014 XC60 pictured above and the S60 sedan, which is likely the smallest vehicle that would be able to use the new platform. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be a quick fix for the gaping hole in Volvo's lineup, and Geely, the Chinese budget car manufacturer that owns Volvo, is reportedly preparing to launch a mid-market brand that may or may not be sold outside of China.
Can't Swedish car manufacturers catch a break?
The Volvo S60 Polestar may not seem like a natural fit for the V8 Supercars series that runs throughout Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. After all, the all-wheel-drive production-spec car isn't even available with a V8. But the rear-wheel-drive racing version has acquitted itself well in the early races of the season, even scoring an overall win at a race in Melbourne. Currently at seventh place in the championship, the S60 the most successful car that isn't a Holden or Ford.
To celebrate its burgeoning success, Volvo sent its V8 Supercars drivers Robert Dahlgren and Scott McLaughlin to home base in Sweden to have some fun driving in the snow and to visit Polestar headquarters. The two of them do some big power slides on an icy lake and then taker a deeper look into the company's performance division. Scroll down to watch the video full of sliding Swedish sedans.
Volvo is an automaker committed to vehicle safety, setting an ambitious target for itself: by 2020, the Swedish automaker envisions that no one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its cars. In order to achieve that goal, Volvo has announced a new proving ground designed specifically to test safety solutions.
Called AstaZero, the new facility near the company's headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, is the result of a $70 million investment. It will cover some 500 acres, with over 60 acres of pavement, four city blocks and three and a half miles of highway. The Active Safety Test Area (the ASTA in AstaZero) will enable Volvo and its partners (including Scania trucks as well as government bodies and university development programs) to simulate city streets, highways, rural roads, roundabouts, T-junctions and more, combining traffic from cars, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, trucks and even animals in order to account for all manner of potential hazards.
The facility will enable Volvo to test active safety systems and autonomous vehicle operations, and even allow robots to test its prototypes in an adaptive environment that aims to be more flexible than existing proving grounds. Read more about Volvo's commitment to safety in the press release below.