Baltimore, Maryland, United States
The final chapter of Volvo's concept car trilogy has arrived after a few teasers earlier this week, as well as some recently leaked images, and as we so astutely summarized previously, it's a brown shooting brake. Really, we couldn't think of a better type of vehicle to follow up the Concept Coupe from the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Concept XC Coupe from the Detroit Auto Show and complete the Swedish trinity of concepts.
It's best to think of the Concept Estate as the hipper, classier cousin to the Concept Coupe. The two are virtually identical below the beltline, featuring front fascias that are indistinguishable from each other (except one is, you know, brown). Both cars wear wide, rectangular grilles inspired by classic Volvo models and T-shaped headlights Where the Concept Estate differs, obviously, is with its more functional rear end and longer roof.
That rear is accented by the Estate's wide haunches and slim, angular taillights, which borrow heavily from the units shown on the Concept XC Coupe. These two features work in tandem to present a wide, squat appearance from the rear. The profile, meanwhile, shows off that spacious greenhouse, which is made even airier by a glass roof.
Struggling Volvo may be on a verge of a renaissance thanks to the forthcoming completion of its lauded concept car trilogy, new Drive-E engine family and much-discussed SPA modular platform. Its nascent renewal is mostly being financed by $11-billion in funding from its Chinese parent company, Geely, and if it all goes right, Volvo hopes to sell 100,000 cars a year in the States by 2016. That milestone is vital, because it would ensure Volvo's US dealer network is profitable, according to Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.
In a new Ward's Auto story, Samuelsson notes that his company is launching a slate of fresh products in the coming years, including the new-to-the-US V60 wagon and mid-cycle updates for its S60 sedan and XC60 crossover. But the most important new vehicle will be the recently spied XC90 that is expected to be unveiled just before the end of this year. Samuelsson is also looking at future vehicles for the US, including replacements for the S80 and V70. The V40 is also planned for the US, but not until the next generation, according to the Volvo CEO.
Of course, it's going to take a lot to reach 100,000 US sales in three years. Volvo sold just 61,233 units here in 2013, and according to WardsAuto, Volvo hasn't sold 100,000 cars in the US since 2007. To reach its goal, Volvo's stateside business will need to grow sales by about 40 percent.
Volvo's Polestar sub-brand has made the transition nicely from being the company's racing arm to building some seriously cool, Swedish cars. Now that it has a few models under its belt, it plans to grow larger and greener. The next-generation of Polestar-tuned vehicles are rumored to include high-performance hybrid and diesel powertrains.
While it still doesn't have the brand recognition of BMW M or Mercedes-Benz AMG, Polestar is on the growth path. It's representatives recently told Autoblog that its latest, tuned S60 and V60 models "mark the start of an extended production car model range." In addition to that expansion, Volvo has given its performance division a greater responsibility for engineering future vehicles, according to Autocar. It even helped develop the new Drive-E engine, which we quite liked when we took it for a spin in an S60.
Polestar's boss hinted at a hybrid model to Autocar, a move that seems obvious once you think about it. The Drive-E engine was designed from the beginning to accept hybrid layouts. The division's plan is to put and electric motor on the rear axle to both increase torque off the line and provide all-wheel drive. As Drive-E also offers diesel variants, that is in the cards as well for the future, but the company didn't go into much detail. Polestar appears to be the upcoming shooting star of the performance car world.