What is it with mid-size luxury sedans with extended wheelbases for the Chinese market? Just yesterday, we reported that Audi is introducing the A4L
for the Chinese market only. Volvo follows suit today, with its slightly larger S80
L. Like the Audi, the Volvo will be tailored to Chinese tastes, sold only in that country, and manufactured there as well.
Volvo claims a growing demand for premium cars in China, and as such it introduced a locally built S40
in 2006, which it says has enjoyed steady sales growth. Volvo claims that the S80
L will target "successful mature achievers who have a strong sense of responsibility for their families and the society." They also claim that Volvo's dedication to safety will remain central in the new vehicle's mission.
L will be built at Volvo's CFMA Chongqing plant in China. It will be tailored specifically for Chinese premium consumers, featuring larger and more comfortable rear seats and rear cabin space. In preparation for building in China, Volvo tech experts and senior execs visited China to ensure a supply of quality, locally produced parts and components for manufacture. In addition, they laid down specific requirements for all parts to be used in the Chinese factory.
Some of our readers (ahem) questioned the logic of extended wheelbase models for the Chinese market. Again, time and sales will tell whether these models are wise investments, but market demand seems a pretty compelling argument.--Colin Mathews
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