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By JASON STEIN | Automotive News

An eight-cylinder version of the XC90 sport wagon will arrive this year, Volvo dealers said after their make meeting.

Vic Doolan, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America Inc., would not confirm dealer accounts that the announcement was made at the meeting. But he said an eight-cylinder XC90 would round out the image of the Volvo brand and broaden its lineup.

"We'd like to be a leader in safety, versatility and environmentalism as well as performance," Doolan said. "For the enthusiast buyer, we want to be better at building each image and dimension."

Also at the meeting, dealers said, Volvo executives detailed the company's involvement with auto racing and showed glimpses of the C50 retractable hardtop scheduled for 2005.

Frank Dellaquila, chairman of the Volvo dealer council, said adding products to the lineup could change the way Volvo cars are perceived.

"The history of the Volvo dealer body is that they never got a lot of product. Now they're getting that product - and it is exciting product," he said.

"Someone came up to me at the end of the meeting and said that two years ago this meeting was a bloodbath. Now they're sensing a turnaround in attitude, and that's good to see."
 
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