Volvo Reveals New Compact Modular Architecture
Volvo’s continued brand overhaul has taken another step with the automaker’s announcement of its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), a new platform that will underpin a range of compact cars that Volvo plans to launch in 2017. The new CMA platform will be similar to the company’s existing Scalable Platform Architecture, which already underpins some of the brand’s bigger models, including the XC90 and the S90 luxury sedan.
The announcement presents a clearer picture of Volvo’s plans as it begins reinventing itself as a bonafide luxury brand. Essentially, having two platforms will allow the company to streamline its production and create a more systematic way to manufacture its new models. Both platforms will still share engines and safety systems, but for the most part, each will be used exclusively depending on the size of the vehicle.
Specific details surrounding Volvo’s future car plans are still being withheld, but we already know that the next-generation V40 and the XC40 crossover will be a part of this transformation. Eventually, Volvo will replace every single model in its lineup in the next four years and double its annual sales volume to around 800,000 units. By comparison, Volvo sold 465,866 units in 2014.
The aforementioned XC90 SUV and the S90 sedan are the first two models that will usher in this new era for Volvo. Once the CMA platform is put to use, expect to see Volvo’s small car lineup to finally take shape.
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Why it matters
If there were still some skeptics who weren’t sure of what Volvo’s intentions are, the announcement of this new platform should finally put those doubts to rest. I admittedly didn’t see this one coming because I thought that the Scalable Platform Architecture would be used across the brand’s entire lineup.
Now that the Compact Modular Architecture platform is here, it does open up a world of possibilities for Volvo. In addition to the obvious flexibility the new platform provides, the company also said that the CMA was designed to embrace electrification. That’s a pretty clear sign that we should expect an electric car or two to be part of Volvo’s completely revamped lineup.
I’m interested to see how Volvo proceeds on using this new platform. It hasn’t made any announcements on that front yet, but if I were to make a guess, I think that the CMA will be used as the backbone of an EV model, a small hatchback, a small sedan, and a mini SUV that will compete against the likes of the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Down the road, I wouldn’t be surprised if Volvo gets in on the sports car segment too. Now that would be a complete reversal of the brand’s image. It’ll still pride itself on being a pioneer of automotive safety, but with this new platform in tow, it won’t be just about that anymore.
It really is a new day for Volvo and I’m excited to see what tomorrow’s going to bring.
Read more about the Volvo XC40 here.