You have many questions about how the Swedish plan to succeed in the future. I've come back from Stockholm with the answers, and more.
It's been four years since Chinese car company Geely bought Volvo from Ford. CEO Håkan Samuelsson said the difference is that now they are an independent company as opposed to being just one of Ford's many subsidiaries. The departure from Ford also meant they had to develop their own powertrain, platforms and electronics in order to start a new era with the introduction of the 2015 XC90.
The partnership with Geely also helps Volvo with its Chinese production plans. Those factories are set to produce for export as well, which comes handy since Volvo's aim is to build 800,000 cars a year... eventually.
Following the XC90 are the S90 sedan and the V90 wagon. Expect to see those in roughly 18 months. In the meantime, Volvo will also be busy developing a second modular platform for its future compacts, while the great people of Gothenburg perfect autonomous driving and other engineers try to avoid a remote controlled moose in the woods.
But let's cut to the chase, shall we? After all, you had some important questions regarding more interesting stuff than the XC90 and its Apple Carplay/Android Auto updates.
mr_gofast: Will we see Volvo going into anymore world racing leagues a la V8 Supercars Championship (in Aus) or STCC?
Don't hold your breath. Volvo will have a whole new range in 4 years, so every penny goes into creating new cars.
Alex Wren: Will there be a return on the R badge? Or has Polestar filled the gap? As a former V70R owner, I'd love to see some fast Volvos come back, especially if they are going to look like the last couple concepts they've produced.
Well, that's a tricky one. Volvo doesn't own Polestar (yet), but I bet the company would love to go bigger by Polestarificating the hell out of the entire Volvo lineup. Volvo themselves are not against the idea, but it seems like they need bit of a push from their buyers in order to commit for speed. The good news is that North America is very important for them, so what you should do is tell your dealer to tell Volvo North America to tell Håkan Samuelsson that Volvo buyers want to go fast again. It'll be quite the chain of communication purple monkey dishwasher.
Having said that, the T8 will remain the most powerful XC90, because Volvo says it has just the right amount of power and they don't plan on chasing Cayennes. That's not the Volvo way. The T8's final combined output figure is said to be 416 horsepower.
monasticity: Any news on the shooting brake/estate concept making it to production in some form?
Well, that's what we all want to know, isn't it? Especially since the SPA platform makes it much easier to produce more extreme, low production models.
I bet they will do something cool. The problem is that it won't happen tomorrow. If you look at Volvo's current lineup, imagine all the cars but the XC90 replaced. Four years gone already. After that, they will start developing the next generation, and when that's done, well, then maybe they will have some time (and money) to play around with brown shooting brakes.
The good news is that Thomas Ingenlath thinks that scaling up or down the same design for every car is boring and is not what customers want anyway, so he promised that each future Volvo will have its own character.
Half-Caulked Jack: Are Volvo planning to compete with the All-Electric market in the near future?
No. Volvo wants to put hybrid drivetrains into everything as opposed to creating one or two all-electric models.
Those expecting to see the return of a rear-wheel drive Volvo should also know that it's not going to happen. Front/all-wheel drive is what Volvo does, even if its an executive car and most of its competitors will drift better.
UnfriendlyMoose: Will Volvo be releasing a more affordable entry level cars for younger people?
I believe so. They will make compacts and smaller wagons. Diesels in North America will have to wait though.
You should also know that Volvo will use carbon fiber body panels as soon as they figure out how to produce it in volume like BMW does for its i cars. For now, the material remains way too labor extensive, especially compared to pressed steel.
Their IT division is also busier than ever. They are currently working on a cloud-based system with Ericsson that's more complex than you could imagine, and involves slowing your car automatically in case it knows something you don't see yet, or providing a temporary digital key to your parked car so that a delivery can be made straight into your trunk while you're at work.
These are a few of many things your future Volvo will (possibly) do. As well as driving itself of course. That's definite.