Geely and Volvo chairman Li Shufu has confirmed the Swedish brand will develop a new luxury flagship limousine to take on Germany's best.
According to CarNewsChina, Li confirmed the plans saying the new Volvo model, anticipated to be dubbed the S100, will be made in China and be based on a stretched variant of the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform set to underpin the next-generation Volvo S80.
Planned to challenge the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8, the S100 is intended to be a stand-alone vehicle in Volvo’s range, with aspirations of being larger and more luxurious than the new S80 and current S80L.
To be produced at Volvo’s Chengdu factory in China, Li is yet to decide if the model will be exported to other markets. Li also stayed tight-lipped on potential powerplants for the S100.
With Volvo recently announcing its all-new ‘Drive-E’ four-cylinder engine family and plans to drop its five- and six-cylinder engines – it has already discontinued the use of its Yamaha-designed 4.4-litre V8 previously used in S80 and XC90 – a unit befitting the high-end model could prove difficult to find.
The decision to build the luxury limousine is also in direct conflict with statements made by Volvo president and CEO Hakan Samuelsson back in April, when he insisted that the marque had no plans to build a luxury limousine, with such a car not appealing to Volvo’s target market.
“We don’t have any ambitions to go into a segment where we would compete with vehicles that have V8 or V12 engines,” Samuelsson said.
“We don’t believe it would fit our brand image.”
Rumours of a larger Volvo model have been circulating off and on since 2010 when Li said the Swedish brand needed “more high-level cars that compete with the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz and the 7 Series of BMW”.
Volvo’s former CEO, Steven Jacoby, also denied there were plans to produce any such model, although those comments were followed by the unveiling of the Volvo Universe and Volvo You (pictured above and top) concept cars in 2011.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd purchased Volvo from Ford in 2010 for US$1.8 billion.