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Old 07-01-2002, 06:18   #1 (permalink)
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Volvo may add compact sport-utility to lineup in 2005

By BRADFORD WERNLE
Automotive News Europe

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Volvo may add a small sport-utility to its lineup.

Hans-Olov Olsson, Volvo's chief executive, said no decision has been made on the vehicle, but it will "probably happen."

If approved, it would arrive around 2005, company sources said.

The vehicle probably will be derived from Volvo's P1X platform, the basis for the replacements of the current S40 and V40. The next-generation Land Rover Freelander could be developed off the Land Rover version of this platform.

If approved, the program would be the first joint Premier Automotive Group platform conceived since the group's 1999 formation.

Land Rover's Solihull, England, factory is being studied as a possible manufacturing site for both the new Volvo sport-utility and the next-generation Freelander.

The Volvo product could be called the XC30 or XC50 and would compete with the BMW X3, a small sport-utility scheduled to arrive in 2004.

Volvo also is considering the possibility of a large crossover vehicle that would be at the top of its lineup, above the XC90 sport wagon. The XC90 is going to market in October in the United States and a month or two later in Europe. Olsson declined to be more specific about Volvo's plans.

Olsson said Volvo was not interested in competing with the Mercedes-Benz S class or BMW 7 series.

At the Automotive News Europe Congress here, he said: "An upper-end crossover - that would be a natural approach."
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