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Volvo S60 sedan shown at the Detroit auto show

Sun, 11 Jan 2009

Showing a new direction inspired by Scandinavian design, Volvo displayed a concept vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show that previews the new S60 sedan, due in 18 months.

The car has a new face--with angled headlamps, a coupe roofline and no B-pillar--and an interior with the "environment of a modern Scandinavian living room," said Steve Mattin, Volvo senior vice president of design.

The car's more emotional look is part of a longer-term strategy to give Volvo a more exciting image in the United States through changes in product design and marketing, said Stephen Odell, CEO of Volvo Car Corp. Of the current image, Odell said: "It is a bit bland. I am not saying that safety is boring."

Many of the interior and exterior design cues will be carried over to the production model of the S60 as well as to future Volvo products, said Odell.

The S60 is also a crucial car for Volvo in the United States, where the current vehicle has never been strong against European and Japanese competitors.

"Volvo in America has to succeed in the sedan segment, where the core volume is for competitors," said Doug Speck, president of Volvo Cars of North America. He cited competitors such as the BMW 3 series and Infiniti G35.

Last year, Volvo sold only 8,966 S60s, compared with 112,464 BMW 3 series cars.

Detroit Auto Show News

By Diana T. Kurylko- Automotive News