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Experian, the US credit reporting agency, recently concluded a study into the financing and credit scores of US car buyers. One of the prime findings was that Volvo buyers enjoy the strongest credit scores among new car shoppers from all brands (nota bene, these are Experian's own numbers and can differ from other agencies). Unlike the Forbes report on the same story, though, we don't find that surprising at all, nor do we think it necessarily helps Volvo's upscale brand aspirations. The Gothenburg-based carmaker has sold its wares on tank-like safety for decades, so it seems natural that its buyers would be just as safe with and attentive to their credit scores as they are with their choice of vehicle.
Audi was ranked fourth by consumer credit score, Porsche seventh and Mercedes-Benz ninth, yet the fact that Volvo outranks them in this metric is probably a plus to its bottom line but not necessarily its image. It's not unfair to say more people desire those other luxury brands - Volvo itself has admitted as much - and people in the throes of desire have been known to be a little more let-it-ride about things like credit scores. The differences aren't huge, though: compared to Volvo's 818, Audi shoppers scored at 813, Mercedes shoppers 802. Lexus and Acura intenders took the other two steps on the top-credit-scores podium.
Mitsubishi took the honors at the other end of the charts, Experian finding that its potential customers, with an average of 604, had the lowest scores. Mitsubishi was followed by Suzuki and Dodge. On the other side of the financing table, Toyota led the way in how many of its vehicles were bought with bank assistance, followed closely by Ford, Chevrolet taking third place. Also of note, and for whatever it's worth, not one automaker made both the 'top ten by financing' and 'top ten by credit score' lists, but four made both the financing and 'bottom ten by credit score' lists: Chevrolet, Nissan, Kia and Dodge.
The new Volvo XC90 breaks new ground in any number of ways. It's based on a new modular platform, packs new engines, introduces a new design language and incorporates a whole slew of new safety systems. Even in its sales approach, it takes Volvo into new territory.
In what Volvo calls an industry first, the first 1,927 examples of the new XC90 will be sold online. Those First Edition models, whose production numbers honor the year of the company's founding, will come fully equipped in T6 AWD guise with the twin-charged (but not hybrid) 316-horsepower engine, air suspension, Bowers & Wilkins audio system and 21-inch Inscription alloys, decked out in black with a tan Nappa leather interior, all for $65,900.
As you can see from the online store, ordering has officially begun. Get one while they're hot.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post indicated that the larger of the conventional diesel engines was a five-cylinder. However all three powertrains announced for the upcoming new XC90 are actually four-cylinder engines. The text has been updated accordingly.
Volvo rolled in to new territory when it introduced the original XC90 back in 2002, creating its first SUV and one of its top-selling models. But that was 12 years ago. In the meantime it's followed up with the smaller XC60, but what the brand faithful and the industry at large have been looking forward to most is the arrival of the new XC90.
Previewed by the Concept XC Coupe at the Detroit Auto Show, the new XC90 is set to arrive later this year, but to keep us on our toes, the Swedish automaker has been steadily trickling out a stream of information and photos. Two months ago it gave us a glimpse inside the cabin, and last month it revealed its new infotainment system, but now Volvo has released details on the upcoming new XC90's powertrain.