New platform could also be used for models slotting beneath the Volvo 40-Series
Chinese car maker Geely, which also owns Volvo and Lynk & Co, has unveiled a new modular platform for Polo-class cars.
Geely says BMA took four years to develop, and involved around 100 modular platform experts from 20 countries. Most of the work was reportedly done in the company's research and development centre in Hangzhou Bay.
The company says the platform can be used for any type of vehicle from sedans to crossovers and people movers. It has also been engineered to work with the company's 1.0- and 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engines, 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol motor, as well as plug-in hybrid, hybrid, and mild hybrid setups.
BMA can be used for vehicles with a wheelbase between 2550mm and 2700mm, while track width can be between 1600mm and 1700mm. It will support Level 2 autonomous driving from outset, and can handle Level 3 self-driving in the future.
It has also been engineered to achieve five-star safety ratings in Europe, and consists of 70 per cent high-strength steel, and 20 per cent hot-formed steel.
Thanks to the BMA architecture, development time for new models is expected to be cut from 36 months to between 18 and 24 months.
Last year's Volvo's USA president, Lex Kerssemakers, let slip the company was planning, or at least very actively thinking about, a new range of 20-Series models.
As the company has all but ruled out adding coupes and convertibles to its lineup, it's highly likely these models would be sized to compete with the Audi A1 and Q2, both of which are in the supermini or B-segment class.
Adding one and one together, there's a better than even chance the 20-Series range could be based on the BMA architecture. Alternatively, Volvo might choose to scale down the 40-Series' CMA underpinnings.
Other brands in the Geely stable which could use this platform include Proton, 49 per cent owned by the Chinese automaker, and Lynk & Co. Polestar, the London Taxi Company, and Lotus would likely have no use for such a small platform.