Volvo’s American sales sheets are stagnating, and dealers know the reason: there isn’t enough new sheetmetal to sell. Volvo’s American bosses are pondering a solution that includes bringing the V60 station wagon — previously an international market-only model — to our shores.
The wagon in question is the V60. The model based on the S60 never made it to the American market after its 2010 debut because Volvo Cars US didn’t think there was much of a market for a wagon. After all, sales of the now-defunct V50 were slow.
Despite the V50′s U.S. market performance, Volvo dealers are clamoring for new metal after a rash of discontinued models. Today’s XC90 will be replaced late next year for 2015, which means that the current model is roughly 10 years old. The S40 sedan is gone, as is the aforementioned V50 and the V70. The C70 convertible and C30 hatchback have been discontinued but are selling slowly enough that there’s ample inventory to sell the C30 through June or July and the C70 through Christmas.
That leaves the S60, XC60, XC70, and S80. All four of these cars will receive refreshes this June, which should keep them fresh; outlets are welcoming the refreshed models, but are still pushing for something new, specifically the V60.
As we reported back in January, Volvo has been looking into bringing the wagon to the U.S. market; Volvo Car Group President/CEO Hakan Samuelsson said “there is a segment…people who have a sedan and want more versatility but the same efficiency.” Automotive News reports that Volvo intends to decide in the next quarter whether or not it will reverse the original decision.
If the V60 is a go for the States, that gives us about a year before the wagon makes it to our shores. In the meantime, Volvo bosses promise that they’ll boost profit margins between two and three points (from 14 to 16 percent for S80 and XC90; from 14 to 17 percent for S60 and XC60) for dealers that achieve new corporate targets for customer satisfaction. Judging by Volvo’s relatively poor showing in J.D. Power and Associates customer service index and sales satisfaction surveys (toward, or at, the bottom of luxury brands), it seems like a win-win situation. So is Volvo’s decision to boost marketing dollars by 30 percent this year, in hopes of raising brand awareness.