There was once a time when the words “Volvo” and “sports car” were as compatible as oil and water. Volvo just didn’t have the chops or the intention to build sports cars. Volvo built safe cars, which is what the Swedish automaker ultimately decided to hang its hat on. Times sure have changed because Volvo is not only thinking of overhauling its lineup, but its planning to do it by re-entering the sports car and convertible market. Stranger things have happened, but this one is definitely up there.

Volvo’s Senior Vice President of Research and Development Peter Mertens recently dropped this surprising news to Motoring Australia. Apparently, Volvo has seen the light and it’s beginning to understand that safety, while extremely important in the auto industry, shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of its design strategy. If it wants to tap into the younger demographic, it needs to have cars that, in Mertens words, “combine safety and sexy design”.

The plan, according to Mertens, is to begin developing new sports car and convertible models that will be based on Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). The company proved with the Concept Coupe that it’s more than capable of building a sports car with the kind of styling dynamics that will get people’s attention.

For now, though, Volvo remains committed in renewing its existing models, which is a pretty smart move considering that it’s got a new design language to creatively work around showcasing the company’s newfound styling chops. Once those models are done, then we can expect Volvo to begin developing sports cars.

So don’t expect to see a Volvo sports car to challenge the Jaguar F-Type Roadster anytime soon. It could happen, which is already half-the-battle won when it comes to Volvo. But as far as expecting one to be launched in the next few years, we strongly suggest exercising a little bit of patience.

Note: Volvo C70 Convertible pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about Volvo’s future plans.

Why It Matters

It probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal if this were BMW or Audi we’re talking about. But because it’s Volvo, it’s a pretty darn big deal.

In the past, Volvo has been very vocal about its position as a safe brand, both literally and figuratively. It eschewed any form of sporty styling in favor of building cars lauded for their outstanding safety features. There’s nothing wrong with that but the fact is, that position didn’t really entice younger customers to buy Volvos when so many other sportier options were available.

Now that Volvo’s planning to start building sports cars, we could see a dramatic shift in perception that could turn the sports car segment upside down.

We’re excited to see what Volvo has in store, even though we’re not expecting any new sports cars to arrive anytime soon. One step at a time, right?

Volvo C70 Convertible

2011 Volvo C70
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The Volvo C70 Convertible was the closest Volvo has come to a sports car, and even that really wasn’t saying much. To make things worse, the C70 was actually discontinued in 2013 so Volvo’s running a lineup without a coupe in the fold.

When the C70 was around, it carried the torch as Volvo’s resident "sporty" model. It did have some things going for it, including the hard-top roof and the two-door configuration. But for the most part, the C70 really wasn’t all that.

Under its hood, it offered a wide variety of engines that really didn’t get people excited. It’s top-of-the-line model had a T5 turbocharged five-cylinder engine that produced 230 horsepower. That’s it.

The C70 had its admirers, that much I’ll concede. But it was neither the first nor the best choice for a lot of customers in the market for sports cars and convertibles. That’s probably a reason why the C70 isn’t around anymore.

Source: Motoring

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