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Volvo DRIVe success means more to come

New and improved: Another batch of Volvo C30 DRIVe hatchbacks with 2011 improvements if headed Down Under.

Sell-out C30 triggers shipments of improved eco hatch plus more Volvo models to come

19 Oct 2010

VOLVO Car Australia is likely to extend its DRIVe model range over the next 12 months beyond the C30 model, to include the V50 and XC60 variants.

This is after the success of the 50 DRIVe versions of the recently facelifted C30 released in May this year.

The Chinese-owned Swedish company confirmed to GoAuto at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney that it would now import another batch of about 50 C30 DRIVe cars featuring a string of MY11 improvements, including a different engine and new gearbox, to sell in Australia from around the second quarter of next year.

Further down the track, the just arrived second-generation S60 sedan, as well as the V60 wagon version that made its Paris Motor Show debut last month, are under consideration to adopt the DRIVe technology in Australia.

Beyond that, the next-generation S40 and V50 should also adopt similar economy-enhancing measures when they come on stream sometime during 2012 or in early 2013.

Asked if Volvo Car Australia underestimated the demand for DRIVe, Mr Desselss replied, “Yes, we did”, adding: “I think it has been very encouraging to see how it has been going. We now have the opportunity to expand on the range.

18 center imageFrom top: Volvo S60, Volvo S40 DRIVe, Volvo Car Australia managing director Alan Desselss.

“At the C30 DRIVe launch we said that it was a ‘toe in the water’ exercise, and we brought out 50 vehicles, and we are very surprised at how fast they sold, so now we are talking to our dealers and saying: ‘Right, what is our next (DRIVe) strategy’?” “The exciting part of this is the whole strategy – it’s not just the DRIVe and electrification of vehicles. We have plug-in hybrids coming through which, I think, will be a far-better opportunity for people looking for an environmentally friendly car, because it will give them the range and they won’t be limited by how far they can go on just having a plug-in (EV). And that’s 2012.” However, Mr Desselss was also quick to point out that Volvo Car Australia, while wanting to be perceived as a green car pioneer, did not get carried away with DRIVe.

“I don’t want to get carried away – I want to make sure that the public have embraced the notion of a (small engined eco) car,” he said.

“So we have to be sure that there are people out there who are very clear as to what they want and if they are willing to buy (this sort of vehicle).

“For the people who want a more environmental type of hybrid car, our Plug-In Hybrid I think will be ideal for them.” Among the changes to the MY11 C30 DRIVe slated for sale in Australia in the first quarter of next year is a new Euro 5-emissions meeting 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

Also available in the S40 and V50 DRIVe versions, the upgrade – including a six-speed manual gearbox and start/stop function – have seen the C30’s carbon dioxide pollution levels slip from 104 grams per kilometre to 99g/km.

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