Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Geely and Volvo will finally team up for a jointly developed vehicle, more than three years after the safety-minded Swedish brand was gobbled up by Geely's parent company, according to a report in Automotive News Europe. The story quotes Geely's CEO, Gui Sheng Yue saying, "We have entered into actual research and development stage and I believe we can see the new product in the year after next."
That means 2015, which is a mighty ambitious timetable to bring a vehicle to market. But as Geely's CEO explains, life isn't going to get any easier in the Chinese market, "Competitive pressure on domestic brands in the China market should increase considerably in the coming years as most major international brands are strengthening their presence," he told ANE. Those statements also tell us that we shouldn't expect to see Geely on American shores any time soon. The brand is simply too focused on topping the Chinese market, at least among CDM brands.
Volvo vice president of powertrain engineering, Derek Crabb, recently said that the Swedish automaker is developing smaller and smarter powertrain options that will "turn V8s into dinosaurs" - a statement that could have been our first indication that Volvo is no longer looking to create a luxury flagship sedan to take on German land yachts like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series. Now Automotive News seems to be backing this up after speaking with CEO Hakan Samuelsson, who said that a big sedan wouldn't fit the brand's green image and, more importantly, might not even be a car that its customers would even consider.
Rather than trying to compete in a small, established market against rear-drive, 12-cylinder sedans, Volvo is looking at the emerging, higher-volume premium small car segment to take on its German rivals with the all-new Volvo V40 (shown above). Not wanting to abandon the big-vehicle segment altogether, a next-generation XC90 is due out within the next couple years (and was spotted in some recent spy shots), and it will ride on the new Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), which will be shared with the new S80 according to the AN article.
This past October, John Maloney stepped down from his post as CEO at Volvo Cars North America. In his place, the Swedish automaker tentatively promoted Tony Nicolosi, who had until then served as head of Volvo Car Financial Services. The appointment was reportedly temporary, giving Nicolosi the title of acting CEO. But according to Automotive News, his position has now been confirmed for the long run.
Although Volvo has yet to announce a new director for its financial arm, Nicolosi says they have found the right person and will announce sometime between now and the National Automobile Dealers Association convention, set to take place later this month in New Orleans.
Last month, Volvo also announced that its global communications chief Bodil Eriksson is moving from the home office in Gothenburg to the North American office in Rockleigh, New Jersey. Anders Kärrberg has been promoted from the government affairs post to take Eriksson's place.